Alonzo King’s Constellation is a much different program than that offered during Alonzo King Lines Ballet’s 2012 NYC Season at the Joyce. Resin, which premiered in 2011, was a work of passion and physicality that incurred a deep emotional response. For the score, Mr. King explored Sephardic songs from Turkey, Morocco, Spain, and Yemen, including children’s songs and religious songs, with them you heard the pain and suffering of the Jewish Diaspora.
Where Resin was a work of emotion, Mr. King’s Constellation, which premiered in 2012, is work of the spiritual. It is danced in soft shoes and is shown in 19 sections in 75 minutes. Set Designer Jim Campbell and lighting designer Axel Morgenthaler created a backdrop of glowing orbs, small lights like the stars in the constellation amongst a sea of blackness. Israeli mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani would enter and exist through the production, singing excerpts from Vivaldi, Strauss or Handel, her voice weaving a web of mysticism, lending a touch of magic.
Filled with duets and solos, the dancers were allowed to shine. Mr. King’s choreography is hard to describe with words, his utilizes the classical vocabulary when needed and discards it when not. There is a freedom found in the constant movement in which the dancers sometimes move in unison but often times not. But even when dancers are not moving in unison, there is still a shared theme, movements that are repetitive within the phrasing but slightly different for each dancer.
If you have never seen Courtney Henry dance than you have done yourself a great injustice. Ms. Henry, who was a finalist in the prestigious Youth American Grand Prix “Stars of Tomorrow” program in New York City, is a dancer that was born to dance. When I see her I am reminded of some on the great contemporary ballerina of our time, Sylvie Guillem or Wendy Whelan. Yes, she’s that good.
The duet between Micheal Montgomery and Babatunji was a thing to behold. Filled with turns that finished with elongated limbs, it was a display of competitive camaraderie. A sense of each dancer pushing the other to be stronger, better….
The pairing of Ms. Henry with Mr. Montgomery was a stroke of genius. Their movement qualities were perfectly matched. Their dancing created a moment when time was suspended, nothing else in the universe matter. Both lithe and long-limbed, they flowed organically with and around one another.
Original score composers Ben Juodvalkis and Leslie Stuck with Sound Designer Christopher Barnett create a colorful tapestry of sound. You could hear the wind, bells or birds calling while in flight, these are intermixed with romantic melodies by violin and cello.
Yujin Kim’s solo is another moment within Constellation in which time stops, the emotionality of her movements is undeniable. When a small ball is rolled on stage, she picks it up and it becomes a thing cherished that is then shared with another.
Mr. King is unafraid to allow the body to be seen in brief moments of awkwardness. Elbows hyper-extended and crossing one another or in the way two dancers may move in relationship to each other. The woman bent over and the man to the side picks her up and down in quick small lifts, she awkwardly hangs from his body as he turns and then he lifts her to chest level as she elongates her body into a beautiful line.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King understands ballet as a science – founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution – and continues to develop a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. Alonzo King’s visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.
Sidra Bell’s latest evening length events attempt to rescue the individual by constructing two new worlds that navigate popular zeitgeists.
Conceived through materials, K I N G D O M (World Premiere Tanz Farm, Atlanta) & garment (World Premiere Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh) use small performance ceremonies to observe antiquation, literacy, transfiguration, and reformation.
K I N G D O M
New York City Premiere
New York City Premiere
East 25th St btw Lexington & 3rd Aves.
New York City
$30 Master Class
$70 Three-class Series
10:15am – 12pm
Advanced & Professional Dancers
Sunday April 6: Michele Wiles
Sunday May 4: Kaitlyn Gilliland
Sunday June 1: Stephen Hanna
City Center • Studio 5
130 W56th St
or Pay at the Door
Re-working a classic story ballet such as Swan Lake is a risk, a great risk, but Christopher-Jean Maillot’s LAC (after Swan Lake) and Les Ballets de Monte Carlo have done just that. Mr. Maillot has created a fresh face for a centuries old ballet. One may ask, “Why do this?” and one may answer “Why not…”
After all, historically speaking this would not be the first time Swan Lake has been recreated. Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, composed in 1875 as a commission by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the intendant of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow was a bit of a flop. Much like Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, that Swan Lake was unsuccessful after its first year of performance.
Tchaikovsky’s score was considered too complicated, dancing to it was difficult and the original choreography by Julius Reisinger, the German ballet master for the Ballet of Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre was considered drab, nothing to write home about. No remaining records exist of that version of Swan Lake, just random mentions in surviving letters from that period.
It wasn’t until after Tchaikovsky’s death (1893) that Swan Lake was revived. Much of the Swan Lake we know of today is from that revision by the famous choreographers Petipa and Ivanov that was first performed in 1895.
Mr. Maillot, with the assistance of the award-winning French novelist Jean Rouaud acting as dramaturge, has created a hip and current retelling of the 1895 classic… infused with light battling dark, good versus evil.
The story begins with a grainy black and white film, a remembered time when the prince as a young boy is on a picnic with the King and Queen (who are masked…) to celebrate his birthday. They meet a very pretty girl, all in white, they also come in contact with a darkly attired woman and her little girl. The Prince becomes immediately infatuated with the young girl in white as she coyly gives him a kiss on the check. Pandemonium ensues as the white clad young girl is swept away by black clad winged creatures that are in league with the dark clad woman…
The film ends and the ballet beings in the midst of a Grand Ball, The Majesty of Night, (Maillot’s version of the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart), excellently portrayed by April Ball, appears in all her glory with her two male and very sexy Black Angels (Christian Tworzyanski and Ediz Eroguc). In tow is also the Black Swan (Noelani Pantastico), who has been transformed into a young girl. Tensions arise for the Majesty of Night is rumored to have had a romantic tryst with the King (Gabriele Corrado) and some even whisper that he may be the father to the Black Swan. Needless to say, the Queen (Mi Deng) is less than thrilled she has shown up.
Lucien Postlewaite was everything a romantic prince should be, handsome and heroic, his dancing superb especially during the touching duet with the White Swan, Anjafa Ballesteros. Ms. Ballesteros portrayed a creature that was noble but touched somewhat by sadness. You felt her plight and your emotions went out to her.
Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s impeccable sets must be mentioned for he has created a world of where dreams could come alive. He played on light and dark, gray was not a color but became a mood. The meeting place between the Prince and the White Swan seemed more a place of purgatory where purity struggled to exist.
Philipe Guillotel’s costumes were the bow that completed the package. He was able to use the concept of classical costumes, tutus and tiaras without becoming lost in them. He updated them so they were current and on trend. For the swans their arms were transformed in to the suggestion of wings, where there would be fingers were now feathers. The Majesty of Night was costumed in a way that made her seem bigger than life, more menacing but still beautiful.
The Majesty of Night’s accomplices, the Black Angels were demonic and yet very sexy. If you were to encounter them outside the theater…for a confusing moment you may question…. should you flee for your life or perhaps ask them out for for a drink…talk about internal struggle.
Christopher-Jean Maillot’s LAC (after Swan Lake) has all the makings of a modern day classic. A Swan Lake that today’s generation can embrace. A world of intrigue, fashion, sex and daring…
Paul Taylor Dance Company
1981 Performance with David Parson & Daniel Ezralow
Choreography: Paul Taylor
Music: William Boyce
Set & Costumes: Gene Moore
Lighting: Jennifer Tipton
Premiered: April 15, 1981
“One of the few great art works created in [the 20th] century… exploring a new movement field of love and relationship. The women dance into the men’s arms as if Shakespeare had only written Romeo and Juliet the day before yesterday. I am convinced that this is one of the sentimental works of our time… something extraordinary in the history of dance. It bounces to a different drummer.” – Clive Barnes, New York Post
Ailey II Celebrates 40th Anniversary
The Ailey Citigroup Theater
Inspiring Young Company Performs 2 Programs of 3 New Works & 4 Repertory Favorites in 14 Performances
April 2 – April 13, 2014
All New Program
Adam Barruch’s Alchemies,
Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s Cuore Sott’olio
Jennifer Archibald’s Wings
Alvin Ailey’s Streams,
Artistic Director Robert Battle’ We
Benoit-Swan Pouffer’ Rusty
Amy Hall Garner’s Virtues
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:30pm – All New
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 7:30pm – Returning Favorites
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 8pm – All New
Saturday, April 5, 2014 (matinee) at 3pm – Returning Favorites
Saturday, April 5, 2014 (evening) at 8pm – All New
Sunday, April 6, 2014 (matinee) at 3pm – All New
Sunday, April 6, 2014 (evening) at 7:30pm – Returning Favorites
Wednesday April 9, 2014 at 7:30pm – Returning Favorites
Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 7:30pm – All New
Friday, April 11, 2014 at 8pm – Returning Favorites
Saturday, April 12, 2014 (matinee) at 3pm – All New
Saturday, April 12, 2014 (evening) at 8pm – Returning Favorites
Sunday, April 13, 2014 (matinee) at 3pm – All New
Sunday, April 13, 2014 (evening) at 7:30pm – All New
THE AILEY CITIGROUP THEATER
405 West 55th Street (at 9th Avenue)
New York, NY 10019