As part of the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival 2000, Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre was seen in four works by its founder/choreographer Pascal Rioult on Aug. 22—"Aurora," "Home Front," "The Oak and the Reed," and "Wien."
The company prides itself on its absorption of both classical and modern dance forms, and well it may, judging from "Aurora," which is performed to Mozart's "Cassation No. 2 in B-Flat Major, K. 99." Choreographer Rioult showed himself a master craftsman in this initially sharply linear piece. The performers, consisting of Rioult, Lorena B. Egan, Craig Biesecker, Brian Flynn, Trey Gillen, Penelope Gonzalez, Seron Nelson, and Marianna Tsartolia proved proficient in the tours, ballon, and high extensions. Two couples performing pas de deux in juxtaposition were particularly notable, as were all the men in their extensive elevation.
Two creations to Ravel scores, "Home Front" (to "Le Tombeau de Couperin") and "Wien" (i.e. "Vienna"—to "La Valse") were the program's centerpieces. The first, as the title would indicate, deals with men going off to war and the women who are tormented by longings, frustrations, and fears for their lives.
Initially, the women came onto the scene acting like a group of frolicsome youngsters. All too soon, however, everything changed to apprehension, as they visualized their men falling in constantly accelerating battles. Periodically, a woman in red slithered onto the scene. Whether she represented bloodshed, or sensual longing, was never really made clear. Still, this could be interpreted at will, and the piece did encompass all the futility of war.
In viewing "Wien," one has to forget that Vienna was once a city where the Strauss waltz kings reigned supreme, and where ladies in lavish crinolines danced with their handsome courtiers, the latter resplendent in their uniforms.
As in "Home Front," Rioult painted a fearsome picture of horrors, encompassing the Holocaust and the destruction of a city by war. People in drab garb were herded off to concentration camps, or attempted to escape their dire fate. All of this accompanied by Ravel's rather mystical "La Valse," quite the opposite of the lilting Strauss waltzes of old Vienna, but definitely suited to the theme as presented here.
One could question the suitability of two works on similar themes in a one-hour program. Particularly since "Wien" concluded the program. While there is no necessity to follow the old "show biz" rule, "always leave them laughing when you say goodbye," two works about life's miseries on a short presentation may not seem exactly advisable.
A truly unique piece turned out to be a duo based on a La Fontaine fable, "The Oak and the Reed." In this tale, the solid oak tree assures the tiny reed that he will shade and protect her from the wind and storms. The courageous reed advises the oak that she may bend in a storm, but will not break. The gutsy reed further advises the stalwart oak that he is far more liable to break, big as he is.
You may have guessed the conclusion. The huge tree, despite its bulk, collapses, while the reed is batted about, but left standing.
Penelope Gonzalez made an adorable reed, while Pascal Rioult appeared heroic and sturdy, despite his eventual fall. And Rioult has my ardent admiration for his ability to create dances to the crashing sound score by Krzysztof Penderecki, who makes even John Cage seem like a romanticist.
Alice Farley Dance Theater Premieres "Black Fire"
Open Rehearsals: Tues., Sept. 5, 12, and 19, and Thurs. Sept. 7 and 14 from 6 pm to 10 pm; Lecture Demonstrations: Thurs., Sept. 7 and 14 from 6 to 7 pm; World Premiere Performance of "Black Fire": Wed., Sept. 20 at 7 pm.
All of the foregoing will be held in the World Financial Center Winter Garden. For further information call (212) 945-0505.
Tribute to Maxine Glorsky at the Joyce Theater
The evening celebration will include performances by Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Trisler Danscompany, Peggy Baker, Nancy Turano, Richard Daniels, Christine Wright, White Oak Dance Project, Buglisi/Foreman Dance, Janie Brendel, Scott Rink, and other surprise guests, as well as an illustrated video interview with Ms. Glorsky by Nuria Olive Belles.
No phone reservations. For information on VIP seating, telephone (212) 533-4974.
Shattered Boxes at the Kitchen
Shattered Boxes will feature 26 artists and performers from France and the US, including dancers, circus artists, photographers, sculptors, comedians, composers, singers, and graphic artists.
Venue: The Kitchen, 512 W. 19 St., (btwn. Tenth and Eleventh aves.), NYC, Sept. 13 at 8 pm; Sept. 14-16 and 20-23 at 10 pm. Tickets $20. For further information call The Kitchen at (212) 255-5793, ext. 14.