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BWW Reviews: The Ashley Bouder Project Performs at the Joyce Theater

The Ashley Bouder Project Performs at the Joyce Theater

On Saturday, August 8, 2015, The Ashley Bouder Project presented their first of two performances participating in the Joyce Theater's Ballet Festival. Joining Bouder, a principal of New York City Ballet, were 7 other New York City Ballet dancers. It is good to see accomplished ballet dancers given the opportunity to perform more contemporary styles. The performance, consisting of three pieces, was one hour, with no intermission.

Unsaid (world premiere), choreographed by Adriana Pierce, to music of Edvard Grieg, with costume design by Reid and Harriet, and lighting design by Jimmy Lawlor, was first on the program. Live music, performed by Elad Kabilio (Music Director), cello; Alex Fortes, violin; and Jocelin Pan, viola, was a welcome addition to the ambiance. This was a pas de deux performed by Bouder and New York City Ballet corps de ballet member, Preston Chamblee. They danced in and out of spotlighted squares and circles of light for no apparent reason. They wore long filmy robes over their dancewear, which added fluidity to the movement and were taken off and put on again without much reason or finesse.

The second piece, In Passing (world premiere), was a film--direction, choreography and costume design by Andrea Schermoly, cinematography by Kevin Schlanser, produced by Bouder, Phil Chan, and Dianna Dimenna, with music of Mikael Karlsson. Seeing that this entire piece was filmed, I understood how Bouder could dance in all three works without a break. Surprised to see a film in a ballet performance, I was equally surprised that this piece was my favorite of the evening. It was like a dream, beginning with Bouder sitting in an empty theater facing the stage, wearing a barely there, nude colored leotard. She was joined by the elegant Amar Ramasar, wearing a suit. Their movements changed places, by the magic of the camera and technology. It did seem odd that, even when joined by Indiana Woodward and Antonio Carmena, the women wore flimsy leotards, while the men were fully clothed. Even when, for a moment, they removed their shirts, they wore dress pants. Dreams are often out of the ordinary. They moved to a bedroom...then there were three...then just Bouder and Ramasar again...then a desert, with hills yonder...switching again and again, finishing with Bouder, in a long red dress, walking through the desert towards the mountains-like a dream. It was an interesting peek into the psyche of the heroine of In Passing, Bouder.

The last ballet, Rouge et Noir, choreography by Joshua Beamish, to music of Dimitri Shostakovich, well played by Kabilio, cello; Fortes, violin; and Javor Bracic, piano, was performed before a colorful backdrop by set designer Mark Howard, which was reminiscent of the cutouts of Matisse. The costumes by B Michael changed colors or partial color additions during the performance.. The dancing, too, looked like shapes moved around by the choreographer. The energetic Bouder and the magnificent Ramasar danced the principal roles. It is a pleasure to see Ramasar dancing with his 100% commitment in all that he does, trumping the choreography.

The Ballet Festival will continue at the Joyce Theater through August 16th.

Photo credit: Alexis Ziemsk



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