On March 6, the Paul Taylor Dance Company offered City Center audiences three of the artistic director's most popular creations: "Company B," "Eventide," and "Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal)."
In "Company B," portraits of dancers performing to songs enjoyed by the public during World War II, all sung by the Andrews Sisters, were keenly visualized.
The song "Bei Mir Bist du Schön," performed by the full cast, opened and closed the work. The other selections were largely bright and bubbly, commencing with Annmaria Mazzini and James Samson bouncing through "Pennsylvania Polka."
Andy LeBeau in his solo "Tico-Tico" and soloist Robert Kleinendorst in "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)" exhibited serpentine fluidity. "Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!," with Michael Trusnovec beset by all the girls, who clamored for his attention, climbed all over him, and eventually raced after him, was one of the most hilarious scenes.
Tempering the fun, Heather Berest in her solo "I Can Dream, Can't I?" displayed the frustration of a girl in love with a boy who is gay. Countering that lament was the hopeful team of Amy Young and Orion Duckstein in "There Will Never Be Another You."
A concluding rouser, "Rum and Coca-Cola," saw Silvia Nevjinsky inflaming the men with her gyrations. It follows, naturally, that they ended up racing avidly after her.
Adding depth to the general gaiety of "Company B," Paul Taylor never allows us to forget that there was a war on, sometimes displaying men in a background shadow and other times showing them being shot and falling in the foreground. Although never intrusive, the tragedy of combat comes through, as does Taylor's concern for humanity.
"Eventide" features Taylor's choreography at its most lyrical, dreamlike, and beautiful. Inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Suite for Viola and Orchestra" and "Hymn-Tune Prelude, No. 1," the work touches on the sacred aspects of love.
The scene unfolds with couples in varied relationships and their acknowledgement of each other's presence. They appear in dreamlike procession and then pair off. Some sadness and uncertainties intrude, but not for long. At the conclusion, serenity reigns.
The work is unique in the original entrances and exits that Taylor has conceived for each of the couples.
Heather Berest–Patrick Corbin, Amy Young–Andy LeBeau, Julie Tice–Robert Kleinendorst, and Lisa Viola–Richard Chen See were the effervescent and versatile leads.
"Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal)," set to the familiar music by Igor Stravinsky as arranged for two pianos, starts with the appearance of a group of dancers going through a variety of exercises. They are holding on to a ladder rather than a ballet barre. But the dance quickly turns complicated. Mayhem begins with the kidnapping of a baby, which gets thrown around like a football by bad guys and good guys.
Cartoonlike antics follow, with the bereft mother (Lisa Viola) in tragicomic appeals for the return of her little son. The rest of the cast are seen in madcap chases, with crooks, henchmen, and police sufficient to fill out a dozen silent films.
Ultimately, everyone gets stabbed to death in staccato moves typical of the jerky cuts in old films. Villains, heroes, and heroines all expire at the conclusion. It's a grand spoof.
Saeko Ichinohe Dance's 35th Anniversary
Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company will celebrate its 35th anniversary on March 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The program will consist of a retrospective selected from dances performed during the past 35 years, with guest dancers featured. Founded in 1970, the company is among the pioneers of multicultural choreography performed by a multiethnic group of dancers. Through its 35-year history, the company has performed annually in New York, as well as in national and international venues.
Its mission is to employ dancers as an interpretive medium inspiring mutual understanding between diverse peoples and cultures. The company also contributes to the aesthetic development of dance by incorporating cultural heritages, strongly influenced by historical Japanese tradition, into a framework of contemporary dance.
The company has donated performances in the NYC area as a public service to the New York Public Library, NYC's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Japanese American Association, and the Interfaith Peace Gathering.
Venue: The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave. (entrance on East 68th Street between Park and Lexington avenues), NYC. Performance: Thurs., March 31, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20 general admission; $10 for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more; $5 for children under 12; TDF vouchers accepted.
ABT in Culinary Pas de Deux
American Ballet Theatre will present its 10th annual Culinary Pas de Deux at the Copacabana in New York City. Chefs from over 25 NYC restaurants will offer culinary samplings and guests will enjoy a special Latin-inspired performance by dancers from ABT. The evening will benefit ABT's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Venue: The Copacabana, 560 West 34th St. (at 11th Avenue), NYC. Performance: Mon., April 4, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $400, available by calling (212) 477-3030, ext. 3239.