BWW Review: BALLET FESTIVAL Dazzles at The Joyce

BWW Review: BALLET FESTIVAL Dazzles at The JoyceThoughtful. Provocative. Exciting. Moving. Hilarious.

This is how I would sum up Program C of Ballet Festival, performed at The Joyce Theater last Thursday night, August 15, 2019. Curated by Jean-Marc Puissant, the program consisted of three classical and contemporary pieces, diverse in both emotional and technical truths. Additionally, the caliber of dancing on this particular evening was superb-and not just because of the quality of the dancers themselves, but also because of their impeccable timing and synchronicity. Everybody was truly on their game.

First up was "Then And Again" by esteemed modern-day choreographer, Gemma Bond. With a movement vocabulary defined by an intrinsic regal quality, the piece demanded the dancers to move with both power and strength that was somber in its delivery. Reinforced by backlit shadows of the dancers themselves, the piece required a combination of rapid syncopation and elegant lifts; a duality that kept me on the edge of my seat. American Ballet Theatre standout Cassandra Trenary was liquid personified-she let each movement breathe and appear spontaneous. Her dancing truly takes you on a journey, because you never know exactly what she's going to do next. Similarly (but differently), Erez Milatin was also notable. His compact frame allowed him to move through the space with both precision and power; he's like the exclamation point at the end of a perfect sentence.

Up next was the enigmatic "Song of a Wayfarer" by Maurice Béjart, performed by David Hallberg and Joseph Gordon. With an incredible focus on balance and suspension, Hallberg and Gordon completed a repetitive series of développés à la seconde and arabesques that was mesmerizing. The piece's tranquility added a layer of sensuality between the duo that over time, turned surprisingly combative. Regardless, it was a real melding of the minds and bodies, and the piece showcased the pair's delightful differences in both technique and approach.

But the finale, "Elite Syncopations (Divertissement)" by Kenneth MacMillan, was my personal favorite. Infectiously quirky and spirited, the dancers performed all that is "wrong" with classical technique-turned-in legs, flexed feet-but made it oh so right. Donning eccentric circus-inspired costuming and moving with charm to spare, it was joy and entertainment, simply for entertainment's sake. And let me tell you, the audience was delighted.

Photo Credit: Maria Baranova



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From This Author Christina Pandolfi