dance.broadwayworld.com

BWW Reviews: ARB's SIGNATURE DUETS Surveys the Wide World of Ballet

March 26
8:55 2014
BWW Reviews: ARB's SIGNATURE DUETS Surveys the Wide World of Ballet

For a crash course in short-form ballet, you couldn't do much better than the American Repertory Ballet's latest showcase. With Signature Duets: Dances of Daring and Devotion, the company delivered a medley of costume, motion, and style that defies easy synthesis: a whimsical take on Bach followed by a modern-day dark romance, a melancholy response to Beethoven followed by a festive tambourine dance, and more. I could try to find a running theme or a clever motif to link all this together, but I'd rather remember and savor the pieces in Signature Duets one-by-one, without struggling for connection. Though there was, to be sure, a duet of some sort in every piece, the show was more often a display of the ARB's diversity of tone, mood, and technique.

The evening's entertainment began with Fantasy Baroque, the "whimsical take on Bach" that I brought up earlier. Choreographed by ARB Ballet Master Mary Barton, this ballet uses costumes that recall the 18th century at the height of its wigged-and-ruffled exuberance. Three male dancers (Stephen Campanella, Mattia Pallozzi, and Marc St-Pierre) and three female (Monica Giragosian, Shaye Firer, and Nanako Yamamoto) flirt and cavort their way through boudoir-like scenery. This much whimsy is a risk, but it's a risk that both makes sense and pays off--novels like Tom Jones and Dangerous Liasons alert us to what a fun, seductive era the Age of Reason really was, and Barton's kinetic dance (complete with a short masquerade) performs much the same trick.

Dreams Interrupted, which followed, was a radical shift away from such flippancy. Romance in Fantasy Baroque is sexually-charged, but still winning and harmless; romance here is either seems like an impossible dream or comes close to nightmare. Set to Pierre Bohemond's pounding music and choreographed by Trinette Singleton, Dreams Interrupted places an innocent young woman (Alice Cao) between a harsh seducer (Jacopo Jannelli) and a possible savior (Cameron Auble-Branigan). Such archetypal characters keep the piece coherent--and as the beleagured center of it all, Cao registers disdain, pain, and fragile optimism. Her performance is physically graceful, yet she shows you just how much grace under torment can hurt.

After a brief intermission, the troupe returned with Afternoon of a Faun, which the ARB also danced for its recent McCarter Theatre program. This story of an amorous faun (Mattia Pallozzi) and a demure nymph (Karen Leslie Moscato) requires dusky lighting and little more, so the total impact changed little from venue to venue. Still, I'm happy I gave Afternoon of a Faun a second look. Though Kirk Peterson's choreography isn't show-stopping (and isn't meant to be) it does take us into a mythical world that--though we inhabit it for only a very short time--can seem quite fully imagined. The Fauns in this short ballet, for instance, have a preference for solemnly regular arrangements, struck poses, and acts of challenge--gestures that almost add up to an animalistic language when taken all together.

Related Links
Texas Ballet Theater Welcomes New Executive Director Vanessa LoganTexas Ballet Theater Welcomes New Executive Director Vanessa Logan
July 27, 2016
American Repertory Ballet's Executive Director Vanessa Logan to Join Texas Ballet TheaterAmerican Repertory Ballet's Executive Director Vanessa Logan to Join Texas Ballet Theater
July 21, 2016
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and More Set for American Repertory Ballet's 2016-17 SeasonPRIDE AND PREJUDICE and More Set for American Repertory Ballet's 2016-17 Season
July 15, 2016
American Repertory Ballet Awards Incoming Student with Gregory Hines DANCE POWER ScholarshipAmerican Repertory Ballet Awards Incoming Student with Gregory Hines DANCE POWER Scholarship
July 12, 2016
American Repertory Ballet to Celebrate NUTCRACKER IN JULYAmerican Repertory Ballet to Celebrate NUTCRACKER IN JULY
July 08, 2016


About Author

   Subscribe to Author Alerts
Patrick Kennedy Patrick Kennedy serves as Lead Critic in the Visual Arts for BroadwayWorld. He regularly contributes reviews of museum and gallery exhibitions, performing arts events, and new art books. Active in the world of education and humanities scholarship, Patrick is also an Executive Editor at ILEX Publications and a professor at Kean University, where he teaches courses in international literature and research writing.


DANCE VIDEOS


BWW Reviews: Doug Varone and Dancers Further the ArtBWW Reviews: Doug Varone and Dancers Further the Art

Become a Fan, Follower & Subscriber

           Facebook Like Follow

BWW Book Review: A CHANCE TO DANCE, by Betsy BradleyBWW Book Review: A CHANCE TO DANCE, by Betsy Bradley
by Sondra Forsyth