BWW Review: The Joyce Theater Presents its Ballet Festival Program D
On August 17, 2019, I attended Ballet Festival's Program D, curated by Edward Watson, principal dancer of London's Royal Ballet and a performer in this program. He was joined on stage by Sarah Lamb, principal dancer of the Royal Ballet; Robbie Fairchild, former New York City Ballet (NYCB) principal dancer; and Maria Kowroski, NYCB principal dancer. There was much anticipation; audiences were eager for what promised to be a highly memorable evening.
Opening the program was Wayne McGregor's Qualia Pas De Deux, danced by Lamb and Watson. The stage is dark with lights on the couple only, who are wearing what appears to be white underwear, underpants, and sleeveless undershirts. The two dancers are intertwined. He moves her as she wraps herself around him. Watson demonstrated his strong partnering skills as they moved to a steady drumbeat of the music by Scanner, (p) 2006 Robin Rambaud.
Fairchild performed Assume Form (World Premiere), choreographed by James Alsop, a North Carolina native. Fairchild was responsible for the costume as well, jeans and a button-down shirt. The frenetic movements suited the music, Assume Form by James Blake (Polydor Records) and this all-American boy.
All My Song (World Premiere), a solo choreographed by Laila Dialo, a dance maker based in Bristol, was beautifully performed by Lamb, who was not wearing shoes. To the first piece of music, Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley, Lamb's natural and emotional involvement with the lyrics and the movement drew me into the performance. Her fluidity made her flexibility appear effortless. The music changed to the classical sound of Les Pleurs composed by Sainte-Colombe, performed by Jodi Savali on viola da gamba, (p) 1991 Alia Vox for the second part. Lamb was generous with her spirit, totally delightful.
3 With D, choreographed by Javier de Frutos is a duet, performed by Watson and Fairchild, two decidedly different dancers in both technique and personality, showing us a moment in the lives of the two characters. The music, I can Give You the Starlight by Ivor Novella, arranged by Dan Gillespie Sells; The Man I Love by George Gershwin, arranged by Sells; Down in the Depths by Cole Porter, arranged by Sells; and Hides is Your Heart by Sells and Ciaran Jeremiah.
Closing the evening was Crystaux, a ballet in three sections, by renowned Portuguese choreographer Arthur Pita. Cristaux - a paired Lamb, in a short sparkly tutu on pointe, with Fairchild, in casual dress, demonstrating his strong partnering skills. They moved to the floaty music, Dreaming and the Upward Sky, by Frank Moon. Crystaux - b was a vehicle for NYCB's long, lythe Kowroski, in a slinky and sparkly shift (costume by Carolyn Wong) and Watson. These two dancers joined their styles, displaying gorgeous lines and flow. Cristaux - c presented a shirtless Watson (trousers by Jean-Marc Puissant) who donned a sparkly head-cover.
When the performance ended, I was aware that this fun performance had been an amalgam of ballet styles.
Photo credit: Maria Baranova