BWW Review: Gabrielle Lamb Presents her Choreography
On November 18, 2016, at the Baruch Arts Center's Mason Hall, Gabrielle Lamb presented two of her numerous works, via two dance groups, The Joffrey Ensemble and her own company, Pigeonwing DancE. Lamb is a New York based choreographer who was a long time soloist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and in 2009 was invited by Christopher Wheeldon to join his company Morphoses in New York City. Her choreography is contemporary with a flair offered by her own personality and point of view.
The program opened with Tessellations (meaning: repacking things), performed by The Joffrey Ensemble (Michael Blake, Artistic Director). The music was lively and fun, "Sport et Couture" and "Espina" by the Amestroy Trio followed by "Sea of Love", by Phil Phillips performed by Cat Power. Lamb's choreography is musical, filling the music and the space with individual and group activity that kept the attention of the audience. It seemed to me, however, that the young dancers were slightly behind the music, thus not quite keeping up with the marvelous musicality of the piece. It was an improvement, never the less, over the premiere, May 26, 2015, at New York Live Arts, which I happened to attend.
Pigeonwing Dance ("to cut a pigeon wing": Dictionary of American Regional English - To execute intricate dance steps gracefully...to dance in a fancy way), under Lamb's direction integrates the rigor of classical training into a unique contemporary movement language. The group performed her Bewilderness, a world premiere, to music of Joan Cambon, selections from Reshaping the Seasons for Kaori's Body; and Henry Purcell, Music for a While performed by Christina Pluhar, with L'Arpeggiata, and by Muriel Bruno Dodo's Lament by Purcell, performed by Simone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt; and Josef Van Wissem, Temple Dance of the Soul from It is Time for You to Return. The cast included Emilie Durville, dancing the Prologue, dressed in white. She entered alone going to a standing spotlight, on the stage, moving it to reposition it. After achieving this she left the stage, not to return until the bows, at the end. The other seven dancers, wearing colored jeans and t-shirts or leotards and socks (as all of her dancers wore socks), entered moving in groups, dissolving into other groups and movements. The last image of the group lifting one of the girls was powerful. Having previously seen Lamb dance, a gorgeous, long and lithe dancer, I saw her expression being executed by the company, leaving me longing to see Lamb dance again.