As a somewhat clumsy individual with very little sense of rhythm I am totally in awe of dancers; the grace and expressiveness of their movements never cease to dazzle me.
In-I at BAM was especially interesting as Juliette Binoche is not a professional dancer and described this piece as ‘acting through movement.’ She and Akram Khan created a new sort of dance together; it is brilliantly evocative. What I liked most about the style was that while it was much less acrobatic than most dance it seemed to be more physical; the interaction between the two bodies seemed more emotionally charged than the more technical movements I’m used to seeing (especially in ballet). The weakest portions of the piece were the spoken narratives; they lacked the emotion and drama of the movement. Juliette Binoche has said that she does not intend to dance again but if she does be sure to snag those tickets early!
I also attended two of the Fall for Dance performances at City Center (remember when I waited in line all morning for tickets? It was worth it!). Each of the programs consisted of four pieces, each performed by a different dance company. I will just tell you a bit about my favorites.
Les Biches, a rarely seen work from the Ballets Russes, was an adorable depiction of the 1920s flapper scene. I particularly loved seeing the ballerinas hiding behind a big blue couch to spy on the men. This ballet was considered very provocative when it was first performed and while it’s hardly scandalous the mood it evokes is no less enjoyable.
Snow, choreographed and performed by Sang Jijia, was hypnotic and intensely beautiful. The “snow” drifting down on the stage made the scene ethereal and Jijia’s repetitive movements pulled the viewer into a trance. I couldn’t tell you how long the piece went on, only that afterwards I felt lonely and expectant. The program reads
When snow begins to fall,
The world is silent
And the mind begins to speak aloud…
I believe that is a perfect description of the piece.
Diana Vishneva’s performance of The Dying Swan was truly exquisite. The piece was originally danced by Anna Pavlova and I felt as though her elegance was inhabiting the stage. Vishneva is a prima ballerina at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, so we can only hope her company visits The Big Apple again soon!
Many of the companies who participate in Fall for Dance perform here throughout the year; I will certainly be alerting you to exciting events but keep your eyes open for news of those dancers in particular and be sure to let me know if you find something before I do!