Juilliard Dances Repertory performs important repertory works from three acclaimed choreographers….
Juilliard is one of the most respected bastions for artistry and Sunday afternoon at the Peter Jap Sharp Theater I saw the reason why. Juilliard Dances Repertory performed repertory works by four acclaimed choreographers, by using established works by recognized choreographers, the Julliard students are challenged to take on roles in already existing classics of our dance history.
The first performance was Murray Louis’ Four Brubeck Pieces (Opus 104) set to the music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, when is was first performed in 1984 it was accompanied by the Dave Brubeck Quartet but today it was the musicians from Juilliard Jazz and they did a truly wonderful job. The work was wonderfully staged by Alberto Del Saz with assistance from Janis Brenner.
Four Brubeck Pieces (Opus 104) begins rather light and slightly whimsical and then develops into a work of deep emotion. Dressed in Frank Garcia’s black and white costumes, which were a play on stripes, each costume was different by varying degrees, vertical or horizontal stripes or stripes that were angular and in different dimensions of width.
Reed Tankersley is a name to watch, this young man possess a unique elegance mixed with power and purpose. Mr. Tankersley has a natural lyricism that demands your attention on stage, he dances with a bold sense of self and always with a perfect line. His solo was filled with leaps where his feet are seldom on the floor highlighting his intrinsic fluidity of movement.
Troy Herring is another young man with a bright career ahead. Mr. Herrin moves in manner that exudes confidence and sheer strength. His turns and leaps were filled with excitement and your eye naturally follows him around the stage.
Juilliard alumnus Paul Taylor’s Sunset from 1983, set to the music of Edgar Elgar and staged by Linda Kent, is a slice of Americana as only Mr. Taylor can deliver. Young male soldiers in khakis and red berets flirted with young girls of doe-eyed innocent, all dressed in white.
I seem to enjoy Mr. Taylor’s more abstract than literal works, those with less of a story line. But Sunset was certainly well danced, an ephemeral Julia Headley floated about the stage in stunning beauty. Ms. Headley is a true artist of dance, her interpretation of movement comes from a deeply internal place so that each movement she made seemed original and true to herself.
William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, Reproduced is a powerful work of sheer intensity and I must say these kids did it justice. Twenty tables were dragged from the back of the stage and then positioned in exact neat rows five across and four deep. After careful examination of the tables’ placement the other dancers existed to the back of bared stage leaving two men who begin to move about and onto the tables in a very athletic manner.
Austin Goodwin commanded attention with the athleticism of his movement, bending his body in ways that made me wonder if he had the same amount of bones in his body as I did. Wearing bright blue pants and his hair in a top-knot, he was not difficult to spot.
Eight dancers come forward and begin to flow down the two center aisles, slapping the tables with their hands as they moved. One Flat Thing, Reproduced is the combining of seventeen solos, all created in the same movement vocabulary but no two seem exactly alike. Legs swoop over table tops, arms explode upward from the body only to collapse with the upper torso on to the tables. Some dancers face front, some face back, sometimes a dancer will just stop to momentarily observe others and then begin moving again.
More dancers run from the very back of the stage, a table in the front is tilted and held in that position for a brief moment. Arbitrarily dancers will slap their hands on to the tabletops and use them to support their bodies, swinging legs forward, then swiftly regain their feet and move to another position. The work has a since of controlled chaos, Grand Central at rush hour, Times Square at any hour, as unexpected juxtapositions and sudden transitions of movement and direction occur.
David Norsworthy is a powerhouse of force shaping and exploring the space around him as he runs forward and propels himself across a table top, he moves to another table top and he is pulled by his hand sitting sideways across that table. He frantically explores the table and surrounding space, lying on top of the table, then underneath. He keeps adjusting his position underneath the table is if seeking the perfect placement within space and time.
Each dancer seems unaware of anyone else; occasional a couple of dancers will simultaneously perform the same short phrase of movement, then return to their own sphere of activity. A chorus of movement by several dancers, all with the same direction and patterns, occurs intermittently throughout the work.
Alexander Anderson moves forward using his hands to propel his body over tables, one after another in rapid succession, he faces forward, then back, lifting himself by placing an opposing leg and arm, each on different tables and lifts himself off the floor.
When the curtain came down on William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, Reproduced I was exhausted from the sheer dynamism I had witnessed. I marveled because I knew several of these dancers will become Tomorrow’s stars of dance…..