The Peter B. Lewis Theater in the Guggenheim Museum was packed on Sunday evening, January 26 for the Works & Process program devoted to Leigh Witchel's Dance As Ever. Two of the three works were solos for the magnificent Peter Boal. In the first, Midare, from 2001, the onstage koto player of Yatsuhashi Kengyo's music was Masayo Ishigure. It was a classical ballet to a Japanese score with a wonderful set by Matthew Mohr. The set featured a column that looked something like a Noguchi lamp. Boal was mesmerizing.
The second piece, Word Become Flesh, dates from 1996 and as the title indicates is both a spiritual and temporal work to ancient religious music -- some of it anonymous and some by the first composer ever whose name has come down to us -- Perotinus Magnus. It was danced by four beautiful women -- Mary Carpenter, Sarah LaPorte Folger, Morgan Friedman, and Christina Paolucci.
The final ballet was A Shropshire Lad, danced to songs by George Butterworth to A.E. Houseman's poems. It is a look back at life -- bravura in spots, contemplative in others, and ultimately heartbreaking. I'd been wanting to see it since its 2000 premiere and I'm so glad I finally did.
During the between-the-ballets discussions Nancy Reynolds conducted with Leigh, Peter, and Mary Carpenter, Peter revealed that he was considering retiring from ballet at the time Leigh did Shropshire for him, so his performance had a special poignancy. And, since he didn't retire, a happy ending.
The program is being repeated on Monday, the 27th. I don't know if you can get in, but I hope so.
Super Boal Sunday
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