Monday, September 19, 2011

Our Kings are Hard at Work

Sept 18.  The first full week of rehearsals has just ended and looking back, it's amazing how much has been accomplished in such a short time.

Mauro Bigonzetti has made remarkable progress on the opening ballet of the program, Jazzy Five. The music is by Federico Bigonzetti, the choreographer's son, and its sometimes soulful, sometimes playful, rhythmically incisive sound lends the ballet an easy-going, but earnest quality. The introductory dance begins as the five men in the cast move slowly downstage holding on to each other as if they were syrtaki dancers. The image is one of communal coming together. Suddenly they break apart into a pair of brief but strikingly different duets for Sarafanov and Coté, and Gomes and Hallberg, interrupted by a brief solo by Vasiliev who comes ripping down center stage in a huge heal slide before settling in a side split on the floor.

The opening section is followed by solos for each of the men, and although these brief dances are very different from each other in mood and quality of movement (reflecting the individual qualities of the artists they are meant to present), there are connecting leitmotifs threaded throughout – complex arm movements, spiraling turns, held poses, and transitions that compress the dancers' line only to stretch it to the maximum a moment later.

The ballet currently slated to close the evening is Marcelo Gomes' KO'd to a piano sonata of his fellow king, Guillaume Coté. The music is beautiful and lushly romantic, and Gomes responds with steps that are structured, intelligent, and flow easily together. He does almost nothing that would seem forced or superfluous. His language is well developed with hints of the deep knowledge of dance history that he carries as a performer. There are intentional, albeit brief, homages to ballets by Balanchine, Wheeldon, Ratmansky – but nothing obscures Gomes' own by turns elvish and deeply romantic point of view. As a choreographer Gomes may be an emerging artist, but he is certainly an assured one.

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