Posts Tagged ‘dance review’

“Interesting” Dancers

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Interesting dancers
Common wisdom/practice among arts critics is to avoid the adjective “interesting” – probably because it is so vague and ambiguous. Meaning everything, it means nothing.
I think if we take it to mean “singularly worth watching,” “a different sort of dancer worth watching,” or “a dancer you have to watch”…meaning, your attention is immediately drawn to that dancer (in fact, a dancer “drawing you in” is precisely what one wants to have happen on stage), then the word actually has meaning.
In Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Midsummer Night’s Dream run, quite a few dancers earned such an accolade and some of the most notable characters were:

Kylee Kitchens (ethereal, waiflike, eerie, mesmerizing)
Lesley Rausch (ebullient, lithe, single-minded, gracious, beautiful timing)
Carla Korbes (passionate yet wild, joyous, playful)
Jonathan Porretta’s Puck was so electrifying he looked like he was channeling – quirky but esoteric, lightening fast and so exaggerated that he really did seem other-worldly
Interpretations widely varied – from Lucien Postlewaite’s noble, dignified Oberon to Benjamin Griffith’s controlled, technical rendering
Here, we were treated to Brittany Reid’s dizzying, majestic turns (she’s one crazy turner), Carrie Imler’s utter confidence and seamless, exciting jumps, Ariana Lallone’s authoritative, precise, gracious queen.

This is a handsome, grand production, threatening to overpower the dancers in grandeur (scenery) and cuteness (small children as bugs), but the dancing steals the show really, as does the powerful music, Mendelssohn’s music (a particular challenge for the violins, but admirable met) was glorious.

In other characterizations, most interesting were Chalnessa Eames’ bright but delicate Butterfly, Jeffrey Stanton and Maria Chapman’s emotional Demetrius and Helena, Stacy Lowenberg’s dreamy Helena, Barry Karolis’s attentive Bottom, and Coryphe Jessika Anspach in anything (what a delightful, affable dancer). Lastly, truly remarkable was Olivier Wevers and Kaori Nakamura in the Act II Divertissement (one they have danced together often) — a lovely, lyrical, expansive dance; these two dance comfortably together, with much nuance, tenderness, and awareness. Sadly, Wevers retires from PNB this season (as does Stanton, Lallone, Eames, Lowenberg, Karolis, and Stanko Milov and Josh Spell). Most, however, are moving on to great and exciting projects – happily, many in Seattle.

Crystal Pite

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Canadian dancer/choreographer Crystal Pite and company, Kidd Pivot, wowed audiences at On the Boards in February with her allegorical Dark Matters. Ostensibly, the title of her new work refers to both states of physics and of the human condition. But for me, the piece was more about the gut (human condition) than about the neutrino. With music by Vancouver composer and long-time collaborator Owen Belton, this piece was an electrifying essay on risk and regret.

Pite’s cautionary tale features the creation (a puppet) of a solitary artist (the amazing Peter Chu). But this tiny, gutsy, autonomous doll, assisted by several able-bodied dancers clothed in black, performs stunning back-leaps and other creepy moves that are altogether maleficent. Sometimes its actions — a genuflection, say, are outright poignant. Pite’s moves for the dancers are grand, clean, smooth, and coherent — every part of the body seems to be communicating with the other. What then follows is a catastrophic pas de deux in which personae and environment are completely ruined due to lack of self-control and self-awareness. The movement is gorgeous and unpredictable. Brimming with pathos, it’s a piece I would see over and over again.