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Stravinsky 125 (May 31- June 10)


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#1 Helene

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 11:58 AM

I received the following press release from PNB about the upcoming Stravinsky 125 program (edited a bit because the graphics didn't transfer, and the small caps disappeared):

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET HONORS ONE OF BALLET’S MOST INFLUENTIAL COMPOSERS IN

STRAVINSKY125



Featuring the PNB premieres of Jerome Robbins’ Circus Polka and Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness –
plus the return of George Balanchine’s Rubies and Symphony in Three Movements


May 31 – June 10 at McCaw Hall


SEATTLE, WA — Happy 125th Birthday, Stravinsky! Pacific Northwest Ballet proudly presents STRAVINSKY 125, a tribute to one of the greatest composers for dance of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), May 31–June 10 at McCaw Hall. The vibrant mixed repertory program features the PNB premieres of Jerome Robbins’ charming Circus Polka, set to Stravinsky’s Circus Polka for Wind Symphony, and Molissa Fenley’s dynamic solo, State of Darkness, set to Stravinsky’s legendary The Rite of Spring. Also on the program are two works by master choreographer and Stravinsky’s friend and frequent collaborator George Balanchine — the jazzy Rubies, set to Capriccio for piano and orchestra, and Symphony in Three Movements, a large-scale ballet that showcases the extraordinary talent of PNB dancers and the PNB Orchestra.

Stravinsky and Balanchine have given the world many treasured ballets and their histories are forever joined. From Apollon Musagète for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to the studios of the New York City Ballet, they share the description of being among the finest artists of the 20th century.” – PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal

Plus! Special Opening Night Musical Prelude – In observance of Igor Stravinsky’s 125th birthday, the PNB Orchestra will perform Stravinsky’s Greeting Prelude on opening night of STRAVINSKY 125. This setting of “Happy Birthday” was composed in 1955 for the 80th birthday of Pierre Monteaux, conductor of the premiere of The Rite of Spring, among other Stravinsky works.


STRAVINSKY 125 runs May 31, June 1-2 and 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on June 2 and a 1:00 p.m. matinee on June 10 at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street.

Tickets range in price from $18 to $145 and may be purchased:
  • By calling the PNB Box Office at (206) 441-2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
  • In person at the PNB Box Office, 301 Mercer Street (Mon.-Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Online at www.pnb.org
  • *90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall at 321 Mercer Street
  • Discounts of up to 40% available for groups of 10 or more by calling (206) 441-2416 or emailing juliej@pnb.org.
More about Jerome Robbins’ Circus Polka — pnb premiere!

Stravinsky’s Circus Polka was composed precisely for the circus—for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1942. The circus impresarios wanted to do a ballet for elephants. I telephoned [Stravinsky], not giving away the whole story. ‘What kind of music?’ he asked. ‘A polka,’ I said. ‘For whom?’ he wanted to know. ‘Elephants.’ ‘How old?’ ‘Young!’ ‘Okay, if they are very young, I’ll do it.’” — George Balanchine

Balanchine’s 1942 ballet for “Fifty Elephants and Fifty Beautiful Girls” was performed 425 times. Thirty years later, in 1972, Jerome Robbins created a new ballet to Stravinsky’s raucous Circus Polka for Wind Symphony, this time for 48 young dance students and a Ringmaster (performed by Robbins in the original cast). Robbins’ short 4-minute ballet ends with a floor pattern that spells out the composer's initials, I.S., the perfect opening for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s celebration of Igor Stravinsky’s 125th birthday.

Circus Polka premiered at New York City Ballet in 1972 and the original cast included 48 students from the School of American Ballet. PNB’s production of Circus Polka, featuring PNB School students, is staged by former New York City Ballet principal dancer and current Robbins Trust repetiteur Judith Fugate.

More about Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness — pnb premiere!

"One day, when I was finishing the last pages of l'Oiseau de feu (The Firebird) in St. Petersburg, I had a fleeting vision which came to me as a complete surprise, my mind at the moment being full of other things. I saw in my imagination a solemn pagan rite. Sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the God of Spring. I heard and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which Le sacre passed." — Igor Stravinsky

Choreographer and performer Molissa Fenley’s intensely dynamic solo, State of Darkness (1988) is set to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Commissioned by the American Dance Festival in North Carolina in 1988, State of Darkness was first performed by Fenley herself, who received a New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessies) in choreography for her work. Peter Boal received a Bessie Performance award for his revival performance of State of Darkness in 2000.

“Just when I thought Molissa Fenley’s dancing in her modern solos couldn’t be beat, Peter Boal’s tour de force in State of Darkness nailed me to my chair. It was a triple whammy: Fenley’s gripping choreography set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, plus Boal’s powerhouse performance.” — Sharon McDaniel, The Palm Beach Post

Ms. Fenley comments about choreographing and performing in State of Darkness: “I called the work State of Darkness for precisely the reason that I didn’t follow the original scenario of The Rite of Spring. I followed an inner, intuitive voice that understood the music. I knew there was the possibility for one person to take on the varying states of the music. State of Darkness – which had many passages choreographed around the idea of fear, entering into the shadows, delighting in an animal presence, shifting from being extremely powerful to being totally out of control – is a dialogue with the music, a very direct give and take from score to choreography. The dance was choreographed with belief in the ‘rightness’ of it, belief in the truth of the body in music. Yes, I would pray to ‘my buddy, Igor’ that I would make it through each performance, able to withstand and transcend the stamina and endurance necessary. One friend said to me before a performance, ‘I can’t believe that you have to climb that mountain each time,’ but I was addicted to it, to the challenge and great reward. At the last crash of the music, where, in The Rite of Spring scenario, the Chosen One is killed, this modern woman steps out into the light: intact, strong and alive.”

Molissa Fenley was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Nigeria and Spain. She received a degree in dance from Mills College in 1975 and then moved to New York City and formed Molissa Fenley and Dancers in 1977. Her 30-year career of choreographing and presenting her work has developed in cycles. From 1977–1987, she focused on group works performed by her and an ensemble of dancers. During the next ten years, her work shifted to solo performances created in collaboration with contemporary visual artists and composers. Now, in a third cycle, she is once again exploring the dynamics of ensemble work.

More about George Balanchine’s Rubies

“Rubies, set to Stravinsky, seems in a different world: spiky-edge crimson costumes, shimmying hips, twisting wrists, lightning-quick kicks. Jonathan Porretta was a marvel of controlled wildness; watching him fling himself around the stage, you sensed what a joy it must be to perform Balanchine. Kaori Nakamura was his deft partner, pursing her lips at the end of their playful pas de deux like a perfect Jazz Age ingenue. Ariana Lallone led the ensemble, with her supreme, queenly confidence. Her movements seemed to put an emphatic stamp on the music, punctuating it with her long arms and legs…” —Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

Rubies, set to Stravinsky’s 1929 Capriccio for piano and orchestra, is the American heart of George Balanchine’s three-act Jewels and a Stravinsky/Balanchine masterwork. Choreographed in 1967 for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella, two of the most vivacious dancers in American dance history, plus a supporting female lead and a corps of twelve, Rubies effuses glam wit and jazzy chic. Clive Barnes, dance critic for The New York Times, called Rubies “Balanchine’s most sophisticated vein of choreography…the dances pour out of him.”

Former PNB Director of Education Jeanie Thomas wrote, “’Capriciousness’ [referring to the title of Stravinsky’s score] might also be said to characterize Balanchine’s choreography, which is half elegant, half street-smart. With its jutting hips, flexed feet, show biz kicks and witty counter-rhythms, Rubies is a many-faceted example of the exuberantly distorted classicism that Balanchine invented to render Stravinsky’s musical idiom three-dimensionally.”

PNB first performed Rubies on February 3, 1988, with Magali Messac, Hugh Bigney and Colleen Neary performing the roles originated by Patricia McBride, Edward Villella and Patricia Neary. It has since been performed at home and on tour, including performances at the Kennedy Center in 1992 and in Melbourne, Australia, in 1995. The Company last performed Rubies in Seattle last June, during the PNB premiere of the three-movement, evening-length Jewels. This production of Rubies is staged for PNB by Elyse Borne, former New York City Ballet soloist. Ms. Borne has been staging Balanchine ballets for the George Balanchine Trust since 1994.

More about George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements

Choreographers combine movements, and the ones I arranged for this music follow no story line or narrative. They try to catch the music and do not, I hope, lean on it, using it instead for support and time frame."— George Balanchine

Vibrant, startling, and athletic, Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements has been called “the most raw and unleashed ballet Balanchine has done” and “one of the most exciting works in the international repertory.” A large ensemble ballet that devours the stage, Symphony in Three Movements contains jazz-flavored movements and bursts of choreographic ferocity that mirror Stravinsky’s impressions of World War II that are the basis for the score.

Symphony in Three Movements premiered on opening night of New York City Ballet’s 1972 Stravinsky Festival with an original cast that included Sara Leland, Marnee Morris, Lynda Yourth, Helgi Tomasson, Edward Villella and Robert Weiss. The work received its PNB premiere in 2005 on the Company’s first repertory program under the direction of Peter Boal and featured PNB principal dancers Patricia Barker, Carrie Imler, Carla Körbes, Kaori Nakamura, Noelani Pantastico, Jonathan Porretta, Jeffrey Stanton and Batkhurel Bold.

In his review of PNB’s opening night premiere performance, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s dance critic R.M. Campbell, wrote, “PNB has several Balanchine/Stravinsky ballets in its repertory, but nonetheless, this is a major addition. Symphony in Three Movements is all about sharp thrusts and angles, wit and edgy rhythms, just like the music. It propels itself across the stage in all manner of being, expanding and contracting like the heart, pumping without cease.” Moira Macdonald, in her review for The Seattle Times, said, “...the evening’s closer, Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, was a wonder — a big, busy ballet involving nearly the entire company, performed at breakneck speed ... Dancers flew through the air in the ballet’s signature move: a simple, soaring jump, with both legs tucked up.”

PNB’s production of Symphony in Three Movements is staged by former New York City Ballet soloist Susan Pilarre. Ms. Pilarre has been staging Balanchine ballets since 1980.

More About Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was one of the most authoritative composers of the twentieth century, both in the West and in his native land. A quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian, Stravinsky was born and raised near St. Petersburg and entered law school in 1901, at the age of nineteen. That year he also gave his first piano recital and began studying piano and composition with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1910, Stravinsky came to the attention of Serge Diaghilev, who asked him to orchestra two pieces by Chopin for the ballet Les Sylphides, and then to compose an original ballet. The result, Firebird, projected both Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the young composer to worldwide acclaim. Stravinsky went on to master musical styles ranging from Romanticism to Neoclassicism to Serialism and was regarded as one of the great musical innovators of his age. His broad oeuvre ranges from symphonies to piano miniatures.

Stravinsky’s ballets for the Ballets Russes also included Petrushka, choreographed by Michel Fokine, The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, and Apollon Musagète (later called Apollo), choreographed by George Balanchine. The composer’s long artistic relationship with Balanchine resulted in several commissioned ballet scores – Jeu de Cartes (1936), Orpheus (1947) and Agon (1953-1957) – and many ballets choreographed to existing works.

Stravinsky also achieved fame as a pianist and conductor, often conducting the premieres of his own works. With the help of his protégé Robert Craft, he wrote a theoretical work entitled Poetics of Music. In it, he famously claimed that music was incapable of “expressing anything but itself.” Craft also transcribed several interviews with the composer. Stravinsky was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the twentieth century.




About Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States, was founded in 1972. On July 1, 2005, Peter Boal assumed the role of Artistic Director, succeeding Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, Co-Artistic Directors of PNB since 1977. The Company of forty-four dancers presents over 100 performances each year of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States with celebrated appearances in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Founded in 1974, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, under the direction of Francia Russell since 1977 and now under Mr. Boal's direction, is nationally recognized as setting the standard for ballet training offering a complete professional curriculum to over 900 students. The School and Company also provide comprehensive dance education to the greater Seattle area reaching over 10,000 adults and children each year through DanceChance, Discover Dance, Eyes on Dance and other outreach programs and activities.

This production of STRAVINSKY 125 is generously sponsored by Moss Adams LLP and PONCHO with additional support from Harkness Foundation for Dance and Mario’s. The Seattle premiere of Circus Polka is generously underwritten by Marcella McCaffray. The Seattle premiere of State of Darkness is generously underwritten by Lyndall Boal. Pacific Northwest Ballet's 2006-2007 Season is sponsored by ArtsFund, Microsoft, Northwest Danish Foundation and scan|design by Inger & Jens Bruun Foundation, and supported in part by Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, PONCHO, 4Culture - King County Lodging Tax, Washington State Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.

#2 Helene

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 07:08 PM

Week 1 casting is up:

http://www.pnb.org/s...ky-casting.html

#3 artdish

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 03:44 PM

I quite enjoyed "Rubies" and "Symphony in Three Movements" but had trouble enduring "State of Darkness." Am I the only one out there who feels this way? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, Ballet Talk members.

http://www.artdish.c...e...39&t=000275

#4 bbh

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 05:06 PM

Jonathan Porretta was outstanding in State of Darkness. Though the piece may have been long he held my attention through it all. It was almost as if the piece was made for him. He was so clear and precise in all the movements. I had been looking forward to seeing him perform it. I went in with no expectations which for me is very hard, but went away amazed at the level in which he danced. Jonathan always dances full force with a passion unlike any other, but this performance brought a new level to an already mature artist.

#5 artdish

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 07:31 PM

I agree that he was outstanding, but the piece -- not so much.

I'll reprint my Saturday post-performance comments here, if that's ok:

Last night I saw the performance again. I paid very close attention to Fenley's 34 minute solo piece, State of Darkness, danced once again by Jonathan Porretta. (Rachel Foster danced it on Friday night.)

First all of let, me say that Porretta did an extraordinary job of holding the piece together and sustaining the crowd's interest for over half an hour. And I am convinced that he brought the work as much energy and nuance as it was possible to receive. But what about the movement itself? Was it up to the challenge of Stravinsky's complexity and discord? And did the piece have any sort of compositional integrity to unify its 34 minutes? My feeling, after last night, is no.

The piece captured my attention for about the first eight minutes. "Where is this going?" I asked myself. But soon enough, as the music grew increasingly varied and complex, the energy slacked off and the movement remained rudimentary and repetitive. Porretta knows how to make the most of stasis, but the deck was simply stacked against him here.

There is much talk about the courage of Fenley, who, as both a dancer and choreographer, took on Stravinsky's high Modernist composition all by herself. Perhaps this made more sense in 1988, but nearly twenty years later it looks a bit more like hubris. This is not because she is unworthy to interpret this great master of 20th Century music; it is because of the way she interprets him. Instead of presenting it to us in a way that speaks to our current age, she attempts to capture the heroic romanticism of the period in which it was written.

Contemporaries of Fenley, such as Tharp or Morris, would never do this. Tharp's sense of irony and Morris's casualness and simplicity of tone allow them to express something decidedly contemporary when choreographing to music from the remote (or recent) past. Because of this, they never come across as pretentious conduits of dead high-culture icons like Fenley.

I ran into critic Suzanne Beal in the press room at intermission after wards and we found ourselves talking, strangely, about the virtues of Cindy Sherman. Thinking about Sherman and her take on history, Fenley's work suddenly seemed hopelessly retrograde to me.



#6 SandyMcKean

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:06 PM

I had no trouble at all being fascinated and moved by all 34 minutes of State of Darkness. It is one of the most amazing pieces I have ever seen. I congratulate Fenley's audacity to even attempt such a thing, Peter Boal's courage to stage it here so prominently, and my hat is totally off to the 3 dancers who somehow found the commitment to put themselves in the spotlight, literally, with no option but to give an extraordinary performance.

I saw Rachel Foster Friday nite. I was blown away. I had to see a male do the role, so I went again Saturday nite to see Porretta. Blown away again....in a different way. I'd go to see Jim Moore too, but I am out of town, so I'm going to see Rachel again on this coming Thursday since I can't get enough of it -- besides I think I prefer a female dancer in the piece.

Perhaps one's reaction has to do with one's relationship to the underlying music: Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". I've loved this music for 40+ years. I can never hear it enough, and I know it cold. To see this music made material, in the real world by a solo dancer, was a revelation to me. Of course, I've seen the more traditional "pagan rite" ballet(s) before and loved them, but this time the music was an equal to the dance. It was just the two of them: the music, and the dancer. I felt privileged to have seen it. If you love that music as I do, I can't imagine asking for, much less actually receiving, more.

If you haven't seen it....DO. It may be the chance of a lifetime.

#7 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:45 PM

I quite enjoyed "Rubies" and "Symphony in Three Movements" but had trouble enduring "State of Darkness." Am I the only one out there who feels this way?


<raises hand>

I find Fenley's work very underwhelming.

#8 julip

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:50 PM

For myself...

I saw friday night's performance with Rachel Foster. I feel badly for saying anything negative, because to just get through this piece...wow. I really, really wanted to like it. I really did, but she just did not hold me. There didn't seem to be a connecting thread there. It did seem truly abstract, but not in a good way. I do have to say that a big problem for me that was distracting was the lighting...which afterward at the Q&A Peter Boal stated that the board had malfunctoned, and I am completely willing to blame my whole experience on that.

I went back to see James Moore at the Saturday matinee. All I can say is wow. I know it was the same choreography, but it was a completely different dance for me. He has such an ability to take otherwise abstract pieces and turn them into narratives that take you along for the ride. The night before I saw nothing, but with Moore there was suddenly an archtypical hero-warrior journey. Once again he made me cry (#5). He seems to have this extra focus and intent of movement that you don't always see from ballet dancers, it doesn't show in corps roles, but as soon as he's in a soloist position it's amazingly evident.

There was one moment in particular that I keep seeing over and over. He took a grande plie in 1st, downstage right, with the body curving over cupped hands. The light caught the sweat dripping from his chin, onto his hands and floor. In that moment I saw an ancient pose of an exhausted man bending over a stream and drinking from his hands. It was absolutly chilling.

I was going to go three times, once each for Foster, Poretta, and Moore. Now I'm going to go four times....I've got to see him do it one more time.

#9 sandik

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 10:55 PM

I'm very sorry not to be seeing Moore in this role -- I've seen Poretta and Foster once each, and will see Foster again on Thursday. They do indeed have very different approaches to the work, and I see strengths and weaknesses in each one.

This is the third Sacre I've seen here this year (Shen Wei and the Petronio company both did their versions earlier in the season) and it strikes me how much baggage this score brings to any dancework. I love the music and know it quite well, but it does feel like an incredibly risky step to choreograph with this score.

(tangentially, in a post-show q&a, Boal said that Fenley was obsessed with the history of the work, and that she often felt that Nijinsky was in the studio with her when she was making her version).

I can't think of another version of Sacre that doesn't end with a death -- Fenley has created a journey, but not a sacrifice, or at least not a mortal sacrifice. The soloist endures great trials, but he/she emerges at the end by taking a step forward, into the light. It's an engaging moment all on its own -- in the context of this score, this dance, this historic artifact, it's an exceptionally daring choice.

#10 julip

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:07 AM

One of the reasons that Moore's interpretation worked so well for me, was that he seemed to be willing to make that sacrifice --over and over. There were many times throughout that I was convinced that this would all end in death, but he kept overcoming it to strive forward once more.

#11 artdish

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:54 PM

One of the reasons that Moore's interpretation worked so well for me, was that he seemed to be willing to make that sacrifice --over and over. There were many times throughout that I was convinced that this would all end in death, but he kept overcoming it to strive forward once more.


Moore was outstanding in last year's Mopey. I wish I liked State of Darkness as much as I did that piece.

#12 Helene

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 06:19 AM

It's been a while since the PNB season ended, but this morning, I felt an impulse to "finish it!" and write about the season closer. So here it is. I don't have any programs (with notes) handy, which means I won't get to so many terrific performances.

As a 30+ minute solo, State of Darkness was the centerpiece of the "Stravinsky 125" program. I saw Jonathan Porretta dance the work the first weekend; on the second weekend, I saw all three casts: Rachel Foster, James Moore, and Porretta again, I think in that order.

Rachel Foster's was the most cerebral of the the three interpretations, and from listening to Fenley speak about the role, I would guess most akin to Fenley in terms of approach. Foster spoke in a post-performance Q&A, and she mentioned "self-discovery." What Foster showed on stage was not just physical self-discovery -- stamina, a new movement vocabulary -- but also mental self-discovery. If there was one of the three in which I could see the process as well as the movement, it was Foster's.

In the case of this solo, anatomy is destiny. Foster, in a unitard, was vertical, more upright, with a higher center of gravity. James Moore, by contrast, in long black tights, was far more horizontal: his wide shoulders, eminating from a narrow waist, and expressive arms sculpted movement with both density and three-dimensional, spiraling fluidity. Each character at the same time tapped his strength and fortified him as he prepared for the final battle. Like julip, I wasn't sure what the outcome would be and whether he'd survive -- and even if survival was physical, what survival meant -- even though I'd seen the piece before and knew how it ended.

If Moore encountered challenges along the way to the final battle, the closest analogy I can find for Porretta's performance is Native American mythology: it was as if he embodied the soul of each creature on the journey in sequence, so that, by the end, he brought the strength and cunning of each. Rather than acting in any way, he was the consummate shift-shaper, transforming right before our eyes.

I think that gender may have to do with Sandy's and my preferences. I felt like I understood Foster's more, but was more fascinated by what the men did with the role, being so inconceivable.

julip describes my favorite gesture in the entire piece:

There was one moment in particular that I keep seeing over and over. He took a grande plie in 1st, downstage right, with the body curving over cupped hands. The light caught the sweat dripping from his chin, onto his hands and floor. In that moment I saw an ancient pose of an exhausted man bending over a stream and drinking from his hands. It was absolutly chilling.


With each performance, the dramatic meaning was different for me, but the psychological impact was the same: it was a primal movement of both birthing in the legs and pelvis, and gathering, with the arms, shoulders, and torso.

I'd never seen Fenley's work before, and had only a general context for it. I can't speak about any of her other pieces, but I can say I liked State of Darkness better each time I saw it.

Peter Boal made three comments about casting in the post-performance Q&A's: he said he did not envision a tall dancer in the role, that he was looking for dancers who would come with open minds to the experience, and that he chose Foster, Moore, and Porretta (paraphrase) because they were so interesting to watch on stage. Porretta and Moore were already given more prominence in roles like Mopey. I am so glad Foster got the exposure -- in the Quijada piece last year, she was the only one of the women who embraced his movement vocabulary, and she was the first woman I would have thought of for this -- and while a massive achievement, she had already showed us why it wasn't unexpected.

The program opener was Rubies; I saw three casts. The first (from weekend 1) was with Kaori Nakamura and Olivier Wevers. In many ballets, their constrasting styles is a strength; in this ballet, there seemed to be a disconnect. The weekend, Wevers partnered Jodie Thomas. Again, I didn't see a mesh or a fellowship. Thomas, though, particularly in her solos, showed some of McBride's "kick," which was a pleasure to see. By contrast, Nakamura's and Thomas's performances in Symphony in Three Movements were splendid, Nakamura's being the finest performance I've seen in the central woman's role, just dead on with the music, every phrase perfectly modulated and inevitable.

Rubies may be indestructible, but The McBride role needs more perfect casting than I used to think. There's a fine line between the directness of the role and the gestures of seductiveness. Having seen two incredible and defining performances in Phoenix earlier this pring -- Natalia Magnicaballi's and Paola Hartley's -- the Trifecta was complete with Noelani Pantastico's performance with Lucien Postlewaite. She danced with lush intensity, the articulation of her limbs and torso providing all of the character she needed. What mainly set her apart, though, was the confidence she exuded. She went full-force across the stage space, fully expecting Postlewaite to be wherever she materialized, and he was, looking like he was loving it. In the Rubies pas de deux, that is about the most potent thing that can happen.


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