BWW Reviews: Boston Ballet's Lincoln Center Debut

BWW Reviews: Boston Ballet's Lincoln Center Debut

BWW Reviews: Boston Ballet's Lincoln Center Debut Boston Ballet's fiftieth anniversary tour culminated in an in-your-face Lincoln Center season. Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen took risks - a victory lap outside of the company's home city on the home stage of hallmark American ballet companies - but he looked pretty pleased as he strode up the aisles of the David H. Koch Theater on the June 29th matinee. Rightly so, since his company delivered three New York premieres in Program One with William Forsythe's The Second Detail, Jose Martinez' Resonance, and Alexander Ekman's Cacti for a full throttle experience.

I saw the company's premiere of Forsythe's work in 2011 and appreciated their growth in the work. This performance attacked the inane sensibilities with abandon. Bo Busby and Isaac Akiba exhibited a refined performance aesthetic indicative of their progress in the company. Striding back and forth, dancers leapt into ever-shifting groupings. Forsythe's movement split the body vertically. Each dancing body appeared as two half-bodies with a tug of war over the torso. The pelvis became the locus of control and pulled the body into action. In this jumbling of limbs, the dancers slid on to relevé, tossed their heads side to side, and whipped through Forsythe's every turn and leap. Periodically they crashed to the ground, lying supine. The "details" created a circus with Thom Willems' clanging score, the manic rush of bodies, facial animations, and dancers periodically observing the mayhem from seats placed upstage.

A melancholy turn, Resonance, began with the tour de force that is Lia Cirio, walking backwards along a large gray wall. Joined by other female dancers, Cirio continued her uncertain quest, her path unravelling when the wall joined the dance. First, a small opening appeared in the wall; it expanded to reveal a second pianist; and, for the duration of the piece, remained in motion to conceal and reveal dancer from dancer(s). Eventually the walls rotated to expose male dancers soberly manipulating them. Cirio and Lasha Khozashvili's pas de deux occurred in shifting passageways, her legs slicing through the air as he lifted her. Dusty Button and Alejandro Virelles whisked through the shadows for a pas de deux that juxtaposed strength and devotion into Cirio and Khozashvili's dark nostalgia. Resonance ambiguously left Cirio alone in the shadows again at the end.

Cacti playfully embraced shadows. Four musicians played upstage while recorded non-sensical text pontificated on the absurdities of arts criticism. With white powder falling from their heads, dancers writhed behind raised square platforms in jumpsuits tied at the waist. Once atop the platforms, the dancers added percussion to the score as they slapped, thumped, clapped, shouted, shushed, and sighed. Dancers popped up when their platform became illuminated, moving furiously until the light extinguished for a video game effect. The boxes became a roving obstacle course and, later, a geometric backdrop for Jeffrey Cirio and Whitney Jensen to parody performers' stream of consciousness. The vocal prompts ranged from the practical "oh, I caught you" to philosophical "the trained eyes see the truth." Dancers also used an array of cactus plants to satirize the text. Humor aside, Ekman's motif pondered the semantics of manipulation within the most ephemeral language, dance. How is meaning sustained beyond the moment? Nissinen's meaning was pretty clear as he staked his claim on contemporary dance with the company he has crafted: Boston Ballet is in a league all of its own, catch them if you can.

Boston Ballet in William Forsythe's The Second Detail courtesy Boston Ballet

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Melia Kraus-har Melia is a dance historian, educator, administrator and advocate. Melia?s educational background is in Communication, Theater, and Dance and her movement training is in ballet, modern, social dance, and circus arts. She recently published a book on dance in reality television. Melia currently lives and works in New York city. In her free time, she loves exploring the city, running, and practicing yoga.