MCB Program IIIScotch Symphony, Promethean Fire, Nine Sinatra Songs
Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:16 AM
[size="4"]"Promethean Fire In[sic] this powerful transcendent piece, as has been suggested, Paul Taylor's response to 9/11? Set to Leopold Stokowski's magnificent orchestral transcriptions of Bach, it has everywhere been hailed as a masterpiece. "The best new dance I've seen in ages." (The Washington Post)
Also in Program III is Nine Sinatra Songs and Scotch Symphony".
Adrienne Arsht Center: February 11-13, 2011
Kravis Center: March 4-6, 2011
Broward Center: March 11-13, 2011
Posted 31 January 2011 - 02:11 PM
It was presented on Great Performances/Dance in America by Paul Taylor's company (along with Black Tuesday), which is not available on DVD:
Leads are Patrick Corbin and Lisa Viola.
Here is a link to Gia Korlas' essay on the Great Performances site:
Posted 31 January 2011 - 04:12 PM
Will see...will report back.
Posted 02 February 2011 - 05:26 PM
I can see why this is one of the pieces that Taylor is willing to license for performance by ballet companies. MCB can dance the steps and make the movements, I am sure. The challenge will be do to them with the weight and force of Taylor's own dancers. So far, they've done a couple of Taylor works -- Funny Papers, Mercuric Tidings, Company B -- that are very different from this one.
When I imagine MCB dancing Promethean Fire I visualize higher, lighter jumps; more graceful and elegant arm gestures; possiblyi some difficulty maintaining the sustained intensity (the almost ritualistic feel) of of the piece. As someone who does not know Taylor's company well (I've seen them perform only twice) this does not bother me as much as it will those who know Taylor better. A serious question, however, is the matter of who can dance the leads. Corbin and Viola have a hypnotic intensity. I can't think of any MCB dancers -- much less a partnership -- who have this quality.
Posted 02 February 2011 - 07:10 PM
Thanks Helene for those clips. As it is well known by now, I'm not a fan of modern dance, but I AM a huge fan of the grand, unsubtle bombastic orchestrations of Stokowski!! I wonder if this piece's music will be played live. If so, I have an huge pro in my favor. On the other side, I must admit that the clips show a very interesting choreography...way more than those of Tharp, for which Villella seems to be so fond of...
Will see...will report back.
The one time I've seen this piece, it was Taylor's company. Unfortunately, my reactions to Stokowski's orchestrations are opposite to Cristian's - though he uses the right adjectives! - and I felt that time that maybe Taylor was actually mocking what he felt was bloated overreaction to the attacks, if indeed the dance had some connection. So, thanks, Helene, for those clips: Reviewing the dances - or what we can see of them through the busy camera-work - and becoming inured to Stokowski's bloated orchestrations through repetition, I'm already beginning to see more in the piece, and to think better of it. Whether MCB can give it the weight it needs remains to be seen. Funny Papers and Company B looked like Taylor lite - not a bad time, but not the whole game, either.
Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:48 AM
Balanchine would have chosen a more conventional sprightly orchestration, increasing the sense of speed and even effortlessness.
I imagine that MCB's results will end up somewhere in the middle.
Kronenberg and Trividic? Great idea !!! My feeling is that she has lost some of that gorgeous amplitude that I loved in when I first saw her, possibly as a result of being partnered so often with Guerra, a smaller-scale dancer. Maybe it's time for those old qualities to be encouraged via different casting.
Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:07 AM
They've done this at least twice before: in 2004 and 2008. For me, it's a lovely showcase for dancers, and therefore really worth attending multiple performances with different casting. Tharp's choreography, especially the loveliest, can be hard to hold onto, so it helps to focus on what individual dancers are able to do with it.
...and what about the "Nine Sinatra's Songs"...?
I'll can't forget Deanna Seay and Mikhail Nikitine in All the Way, or Kronenberg (with Guerra) in One for My Baby. Haiyan Wu was especially lovely in several of the songs, in different casts. So were Callie Manning and Didier Bramaz in Strangers in the Night.
If you have Arlene Croce's Writing in the Dark, make sure you read (or reread) her chapter on "Tharp's Sinatra," based on Tharp's own company performing the work in 1984.
Posted 09 February 2011 - 09:15 AM
Corbin mentions that this is the first time the work has been staged outside the company. Since it has never been out of rep at Paul Taylor Dance Company, Corbin had to put the written record of steps, etc., together working with current dancers, videos, etc. Usually this prep process takes about 3 months, he tells us. This time, because there was "no template to work from," it took 5 months and he wasn't really finished writing things down at the time he flew down to Miami.
The interview includes brief clips from the rehearsal, incluiding the concluding pas de deux. I recognized Yann Trividic but could not identify the woman he was dancing with.
And here's a video by MCB dancer Rebecca King (from her blog, Tendus Under a Palm Tree). It shows a very rough EARLY rehearsal of the piece -- as the dancers learn how to pile their bodies one on top of another. Corbin tries manfully to help them to arrange themselves. The tall dancer in the pink sweat pants is Yann Trividic..
Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:33 PM
Yeah, getting ballet dancers, those creatures who customarily inhabit the air over the stage, to heap themselves on it would take some study...
But this is one of the things I find remarkable in Taylor. I think it's his Dante Sonata, performed, incidentally, to music (by Ligeti) for a small, unorchestrated organ, which begins and ends, IIRC, with a downstage heap across the stage, but these piles of bodies of his can be remarkably articulate - or at least articulated, with different dancers' limbs or heads standing out, artfully complementing each other - when you'd expect them to be inexpressive masses. (I've seen less expressive ballet choreographies, with dancers on their feet but clumped together into an inarticulate mass.)
Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:22 PM
Is Trividic the man who rises from the heap and raises the woman in red and black? I thought she might be Albertson.
Yes. She's Tricia.
Edited to add: Tricia I would like to see as the Sylph. Catoya should be a good choice too.
Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:26 PM
Regarding the construction of the "pile": I like your word "articulated." I watched the PTDC video several times to see just how carefully the "piling on" is constructed and performed. Corbin, for example, makes a bridge to protect those under him, and you can see the muscles of his arms being used to hold up those above him. I would imagine this would take quite a while to learn to do.
All the Paul Taylor Dance Company dancers seem quite physically strong, even solid -- a look that few young ballet dancers have (or know how to project).
Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:49 PM
Will report back!
Posted 11 February 2011 - 04:22 AM
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