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Twyla Tharp Dance

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On Saturday night I went to the company's final performance at the Joyce Theatre. They were a replacement for Ballet Tech, who usually close the Joyce summer season. (Perhaps they will again in the future...) This was also cheaper than seeing MOVIN' OUT.

The program was of 3 newer pieces - the duet from KNOWN BY HEART, WESTERLY ROUND, and SURFER AT THE RIVER STYX. Also danced was the 1970 FUGUE, which I saw XX years ago :) ! THE FUGUE is textbook Tharp; her repetitive, inverted style is all there.

The KNOWN BY HEART duet opened the program. I never saw it before. It probably would looked forced with dancers uncomfortable with the kidding around...or each other. Matthew Dibble and Lynda Sing were neither. She literally danced him off the stage. I know he was with the Royal Ballet, but I had never seen her before. She's lovely.

My favorite was WESTERLY ROUND. Three guys and a girl high step their way through Mark O' Connor's CALL OF THE MOCKINGBIRD. It's an exhilierating, happy piece that matched the fiddler's joyful music. Emily Coates, who I liked w/NYCB & White Oak, was adorable. There's nothing she can't do and do well. I read in TIME OUT/NY that she's going to Yale. Brava Emily!

SURFER was a complete contrast and an ambitious, major work. The dancers were costumed for a day at the beach - where things went far worse than experiencing our recent east coast stormy weather. 2 soloists (Stuart Capps and Charlie Nesyba-Hodges) were pulled & dragged into the malestrom of 2 men and 2 women. Donald Knaack's electronic score was both very loud and effective. Tharp's choreography was fast and furious. After about 20 minutes of chaos, the dancers changed from black to white beachwear and were much nicer to each other. David Kahne's softer music ended the ballet. Twyla's an original, but the finale featured a homage to Balanchine's UNANSWERED QUESTION that worked fine. Charlie Nesyba-Hodges deserves special mention for an unending series of turns and just plain incredible dancing.

With MOVIN' OUT about to tour and a book in the Fall, I hope Ms. Tharp keeps this likable company together.

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