In last weekend’s “Balanchine Masterpieces” program, the music proved as thrilling as the dance—especially Mark Polesky at the piano. Polesky brought brightness and verve to the Stravinsky and richness to Hindemith’s changing moods. And that was on an electric keyboard! The dance was equally stunning, from the moment the Spreckels Theatre curtain rose on a chorus line of dancers in sparkly lipstick-red.
Some dances have such wildly inventive movement, and it flashes by so quickly, that the minute the piece ends, I want to see it again. That’s how I felt when I caught the premiere of “Odeon” by Ephrat Asherie Dance at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival last summer. I felt that way again when ArtPower presented “Odeon” at the Balboa Theatre last week.
Beijing Dance Theater’s spectacular sets were pretty much missing from the stage at the Balboa Theater. Also missing was a compelling artistic vision in three pieces by company director Wang Yuanyuan. And what was with the handsy guy who kept copping feels?
We had a rare and rewarding view of the choreographic process. For many, it was an unknown dance experience–witnessing the choreographer, with his dancers, creating new movement on the fly…
The program of six dances opened with Weinberg’s “Ritual:The Ezio Suite Continues,” set to music by Ezio Bosso which sets a dark cinematic tone. Four women lean forward and cautiously slide their feet over the floor, as if checking for cracks in a frozen pond. As they scoop their arms upward and roll their heads, they evoke women struggling to harvest grain…
Wonderfully ambitious, if over-reaching, David Roussève/REALITY’s “Halfway to Dawn” is a sort of dance-biography of jazz great Billy Strayhorn. Celebratory, abandoned dancing to Strayhorn tunes evokes the gaiety of African-American jazz clubs in the 1940s; but this complex piece also conveys an underlying loneliness.