BWW Reviews: Ballet NY Performs at the Ailey Citi Group Theater
Ballet NY, founded in 1997 by Artistic Directors Medhi Bahiri and Judith Fugate, offered an opportunity to four emerging choreographers to work with classically trained dancers and present company premieres on April 16th at the Ailey Citi Group Theater.
The second ballet on the program, The Garden of Souls, was the most successful of the four. Choreographed by Medhi Bahiri to a blend of music from Native traditions of North America and Ancient traditions of India and the Far East, the work utilized the most interesting dancers, particularly the long limbed, fluid Miriam Ernest, whom I would love to see dancing in some real classical works. The rather dark lighting design by Charlie Winter and Scott Borowka gave the feel of dancing in a forest. The costumes designed by Veronika Rogoza were unusual and interesting, yet simple. This ballet brought the audience into a far-off world, leaving us enriched for the voyage.
Antonia Franceschi's Kinderszenen, set to the music of Allen Shawn--on the faculty of Bennington College--paid homage to her strong roots in the Balanchine tradition, having danced with New York City Ballet. The dancers, attired in short dresses or shirts and tights, performed without passion. From one scene to another they seemed to be following choreography, not story, not unlike many Balanchine ballets, in that respect. The difference, to be succinct: The Balanchine ballets speak in a totally unique ballet language. This ballet did not have the power to get it's meaning across the footlights.
Dreams, choreography by Margot Parsons and utilizing new age music by Ai Isshiki and Steve Milton, was, according to the choreographer's program note," ... concerned with the inner propulsion of going forward against the force of time." Was it? There were three dancers resembling Greek goddesses, all dressed in gold wrap tunics. The movement, however, made no attempt to give a reason for this combination of elements. It seemed to me that it was under-rehearsed, which contributed to the dullness of these Dreams.
Urban Study-Excerpts by Ginger Thatcher was the last premiere of the evening. It started with four bright lights beaming into the eyes of the audience while the music of Annie Gosfield banged on the pipes. The women wore black sports bra and short skirts worn over cheap pantyhose that had visible darker shorts lines, revealing shear black legs, beyond the panti-shorts. If she wanted us to conclude that this Urban Study portrayed an unattractive side of urban life, she succeeded.
It is not my pleasure to end on a down note. It was, however, not my pleasure to have seen this antagonistic piece at the very end. I still have hopes that this 17 year old company will bring us pleasure in the future.