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BWW Review: MARIA KOCHETKOVA – CATCH HER IF YOU CAN at Joyce TheaterAt New York City's Joyce Theater this week, July 16-21, 2019, Maria Kochetkova is performing eight short pieces by seven contemporary choreographers, joined by five dancers of quality. On Wednesday, July 17th, I experienced the sold-out performance.

Kotchekova, born in Moscow, trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School for eight years before dancing with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London. She was a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet from 2007 to 2018. She has been guest artist with many companies internationally, including American Ballet Theatre, NYC. In the last work on the program, Kotchekova revealed that, one day, she would like to have her own company. It seems that she is on her way to realizing that dream.

  1. on the program was Bach Duet (from New Suite), by reputed choreographer, William Forsythe, who also did the lighting design, to music by J.S.Bach, Allemande from Partita No. 1 BWV 1002 in h-Moll, performed by Nathan Milstein. Dressed in a deep blue camisole leotard with bare legs, Kochetkova performed with Sebastian Kloborg, an attentive partner. The movements were sometimes fluid, sometimes choppy, which seems to suit Kochetkova's style. The world premiere was on February 25, 2012 by the Semperoper Ballet, Dresden, Germany.

A solo danced by Carlo Di Lanno, Painting Greys, choreography and lighting design (rather dark) by Myles Thatcher was contemporary while using classical ballet vocabulary interspersed with freer movements. The music was Emmit Fenn, Painting Greys. Di Lanno trained at La Scala Ballet School in Milan, Italy. He has danced with La Scala Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, and San Francisco Ballet. In this piece, Di Lanno demonstrated flexible legs and tight shoulders, which left me yearning for a more heartfelt performance.

Marco Goecke, a rising German choreographer whose works are performed internationally, choreographed Tue to music by Barbara, Drouot & Sid'amour a mort. Drew Jacoby, American born choreographer/dancer who has danced with Alonzo King's Lines Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Royal Ballet of Flanders among other companies, danced this solo by Goecke. The movements were quirky. Jacoby's performance (in soft shoes) let her strength and her personality shine.

Degunino, choreography, costume design, and lighting design by Marcos Morau, was another vehicle for Kochetkova. The costume was a sheer black unitard with opaque circles strategically placed and opaque shorts. This is a quirky piece that showcased her extraordinary extension and her admirable 100% commitment to the work.

London born David Dawson Is a choreographer who transforms classical ballets in his own way. His White Swan Pas de Deux, to the music of Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, Op. 20, Act 1, Scene 2, performed by the Mariinsky Orchestra, was originally created for Scottish Ballet. At this performance it was performed by Di Lanno and Sofiane Sylve. Sylve made a lovely Odette who was beautifully costumed, costume design by Yumiko Takeshimo, in an elegant leotard with a red jewel, situated where it would be on the White Swan's tutu, yet there was no tutu, just the leotard and bare legs. Di Lanno wore a long-sleeved t-shirt and straight-legged dance pants. I enjoyed it.

Jacoby choreographed Rachel, Nevada, music composition and direction of Sam Spiegel, for herself and Kochetkova, two visibly different types. This was the world premiere at the Joyce Theater, NYC. The unusual costume design, by Anja Mlakar, put each of the dancers in another hue of pink. The background was like a black and white kaleidoscope, changing and projected on the scrim at the back of the stage, video design by TOYKYO. The combination of these factors created a visual delight.

Dawson's At The End of The Day to music by Szymon Brzoska, Migrations, is a pas de deux danced here by Kloborg and Kochetkova with passion.

Last on the program was Masha Machine, choreography by Jerome Bel. It was listed as Dancer: Kochetkova, a duet with Bel and Kochetkova. This work opened with a projection at the back of the stage of a cell phone text conversation between Kochetkova and Bel. While I first understood that it was there to give her time to change and regroup before the final performance, it kept me rivetted, interested in the psychological underpinnings of this artist who was allowing us this personal view. Within the text exchange were YouTube video clips. It went on for quite a while. At the end, Kochetkova emerged wearing warm-up clothes and danced briefly, using lovely port-de-bras.

Photo credit: Rachel Neville

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