Self-presented at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Oct. 2-7.
Seventy-five minutes was about 25 minutes too long for the creation of moon magic in Ginette Laurin's full-evening piece, "Luna," in its premiere at the Joyce Theater. The excellent dancers, strapped with head mikes to make their sighs, whispers, and French counting audible, seemed to be playing mysterious games with each other—all pertaining to the moon, whose familiar surface appeared intermittently on the backdrop. They touched, talked, jumped into each other's arms—the soft musical score (a sound design by Larsen Lupin with Ginette Laurin) giving appropriate lilt and hue to the choreography. But why did they whisper to each other, shutting out what might have been interesting or informative rhetoric that might have clarified some of the mystery?
In turns, the choreography became agitated, serene, and sometimes too strange to pinpoint. There were numerous costume changes, props were introduced, and a good mix of solos, ensembles, and trios took the stage. The mechanics of creating dance were well used by Laurin, but the inspiration was almost too secretive, despite an elaborate essay by Robert Racine included in the program.
Perhaps there is only so much one can say about the big round white circle in the sky, or perhaps dancing an astronomy lesson does not altogether work and, inevitably, must become repetitious. This happened frequently in "Luna." About midpoint, Laurin introduced large magnifying glasses on wheels, which gave an odd and unusual perspective as the dancers posed behind them, creating images of large heads atop normal-sized torsos. We could inspect the dancers' complexions up close. To their credit, they stayed in repose—wistful and circumspect. This symbolic innovation was repeated often and without apparent reason as the piece progressed.
Towards the end, the women brought out stools, sat down, and played out their own sign language, changing places in time to an increased musical tempo. The pace picked up momentarily, then returned to slow motion, and trailed off until the curtain fell.
The dancers, beautifully accented by the pale lighting design of Axel Morgenthaler, were committed throughout, especially Anne Barry, a statuesque blonde, whose clean ballet lines drew immediate attention.