Posted 06 April 2002 - 08:12 AM
I reviewed it for the Post:
I won't comment further until someone else does
The audience seemed to love it. It got a very, very warm reception. I thought it was a mess. Great music, dancers giving it their all, but no depth and no consistency.
What did you think?
Posted 06 April 2002 - 05:46 PM
Three Preludes is a beautiful, romantic piece. It's lovely to have the pianist on the stage. The first section is very inventive as they incorporate a center barre into the pas de duex choreopgraphy.
Journey Home is absolutely fantastic. The music, performed live by Sweet Honey in the Rock, is strong and exciting. The dancing is sensational. The collaboration between Sweet Honey and the company was great.
I'm very sorry. I have trouble expressing everything. It was just so fabulous that I find it hard to say everything exactly how I want to. Hope this is okay. I hope others enjoyed it as much as I did.
Posted 08 April 2002 - 11:04 AM
Posted 08 April 2002 - 04:32 PM
Posted 09 April 2002 - 02:57 AM
There was a good piece on NPR's Morning Edition about "The Journey Home" on Monday. Check www.npr.org archives to hear it. Only problem, I do believe the announcer refered to Septime Webre as "she" in the lead in to the piece.
Posted 09 April 2002 - 11:22 AM
What a cornucopia! I guess that's the cross-cultural melange that earns grants nowadays. That must be part of the game because I don't get the point of putting together pure African-American singing with European classical dance, danced by mostly-Caucasian dancers (there were, I think, two African-Am gentlemen among the corps). Ah, well...
LOVED Sweet Honey's a capella singing! As Balanchine once suggested, I decided, halfway through this mess, to close my eyes & enjoy the wonderful music. Simply divine. Impossible to concentrate on the potpourri that was going on below...except that every now and then some guy was dragged across the stage on some Africanish-hobby-horse. I guess that's what it was. My neighbor thought that it was a bed. They must have paid a lot to commission that beauty, so choreographer Septime Webre must have felt compelled to drag it around every five minutes.
Most disappointing lighting I've seen in ballet, in ages...lots of spots...impossible to discern what dancers were up to, especially when wearing brownish/muted costumes. Impossible for the dancers to compete for attention against those five vividly-clad singers on the raised stage behind them...or that equally-vividly-clad sign-language interpreter downstage (audience-left). Not that the hearing impaired could have read her hand signals during half the show, due to the spotty lighting.
The choreography - WHAT choreography? Hard to see, and what I could see seemed pedestrian.
Sorry, I thought that a week or so would calm my negative feelings but, alas, I still see it as a mess.
On the other hand....
The evening's first work, 'Blue Until June,' to Etta James' jazzy-blues vocals, truly works as choreography. Trey McIntyre - who is this awesome, musical choreographer? What a golden guy; don't let him get away too far! Very emotionally charged performance from the wonderful dancers. And the stage was well lit - hey! could see the dancers! Lovely costumes. A cohesive, total work of art. Bravo!
Amanda McKerrow & John Gardner were fluid, romantic, sublime in the one "old-fashioned-classical/Europeanish" work in the program, Ben Stevenson's 'Three Preludes.' Dare I say that I'm growing fonder of Mckerrow & Gardner in the mature years of their careers? Between McKerrow's recent WB performances & her Odette/Odile at ABT last year, she just keeps getting better as a dancer AND actress, with wonderful emotional qualities that I failed to notice a decade ago.
And, finally, a word about the lack of balance in this program. I have no problems with 'ethnic' programming...but TWO large (45-plus minute) Afro-Ethnic ballets sandwiching a 10-minute European-style pas de deux? I say: make it an Afro Night of three jazzy works...or three totally different styles of ballet...but this almost seemed like 'Afro Night with a Tiny Bon-bon for Euros" which made one wonder why they bothered with "Three Preludes," as it was so out-of-place amidst the powerful message of African-American music.
p.s. - I'm sorry that I missed the February 2002 program of Washington Ballet, which, I heard, offered a far-more-balanced slate of ballets.
Posted 09 April 2002 - 11:37 AM
Posted 16 April 2002 - 09:12 AM
As far as Journey Home, I thought it was magnificent. I agree that the lighting made it hard to see the dancers, but I think without it, the art work would have been imcomplete. The artwork was amazing. The show was so creative. I've never seen anything done like it.
The "bed", I think, was like his mode of transport for watching his life, or did I miss something. I remember being at ballet and the bed kept being moved around. Nobody could guess what it was.
When Michelle danced her pas, did anybody think that the plastic sort of got in the way of her and our view? Just wondering.
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