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Eliot Feld - "What happened?"

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Tobi Tobias reviews Feld's new season in New York


The review ends with this question:

Two other pieces introduced this season, Skandia and Pianola, proved to be examples of Feld's all too familiar resorting to dubious evocations of local color and vehement but pointless reiterative jiggling, respectively. The Conlon Nancarrow music for player piano used for Pianola was at least a bracing element. More significant than the season's new entries were the revivals of two ballets from his earliest (and, alas, most fertile) days -- At Midnight, created in 1967, and the 1971 Theatre. Both are rich works -- original, intelligent, and full of feeling -- that promised a distinguished future for their choreographer. Some 30 years after their making, we have seen this undeniable talent continually dissipated in pieces that are childish, gimmicky, and obsessive. What happened?

This is a question that's been raised since the late 1970s. Anyone have any ideas?

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I remember many of Feld's ballets from the 70s with great pleasure but haven't really cared for them since that time. For me, it is because Feld seems to be working out some sort of intellectual "problem" that interests him not responding to the music. And many of those "problems" just don't interest me.

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There was a time, back when, when it seemed that Feld was making ballets which were his "take" on the works of others. Intermezzo was reminiscent of Dances at a Gathering, Excursions was Rodeo on steroids, The God Amused was Apollo and friends, etc.

I rather liked a few of the newer Feld pieces I saw when I was taken to see Ballet Tech a year or so ago. But then he produces something like Organon or Felix, and I have to wonder "what happened," indeed.

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