Joffrey Ballet – SPRING DESIRE

Age of Innocence

Choreography: Edward Liang
Music: Philip Glass and Thomas Newman

In the Night
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Music: Frédéric Chopin

Incantations
WORLD PREMIERE
Choreography: Val Caniparoli
Music: Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky
At the Auditorium Theater – April 26 – May 6, 2012

Notes from Page to Stage:
Some people summarize ballet as women dancing on their toes and men in tights.    Tonight the world premiere of “Incantations” took the amazing musical notes right off the page and translated them onto the Auditorium stage.  At times the dancers seemed no longer people, but musical notes with “circular energy” moving with each and every booming or subtle sound coming from the orchestra.  It is hard to recall another piece that so closely defines the meaning of ballet. The huge bell-like shapes (signifying Buddist Incense Coils) hung high in the staging; the haunting music complete with marimbas, and the remarkable dancers truly created an aura; so much so that by the conclusion, one couple spins as on a music box with tinkling sounds making not a trite,  but a magically ending moment!

“Incantations” presents desire, especially with romance, in a variety of ways with the most unusual beautifully written music by Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky…sure to become a classic!   In it you hear a wide range of bell-like sounds where Barakovsky’s uses his background of the cultural traditions of Taoist, Christian, Aboriginal, Jewish, Hinduish, Celtic among others. Choreographer Caniparoli draws from modern, ethnic and social dancing with a little of ice skating moves as well.    Just as Jaiani & Calmels create an ultimate pairing for a pas de deux in the first two ballets, in the third, Choreographer Caniparoli and Barakovsky could not be more perfectly matched,

 

The Joffrey Ballet fascinates and astounds with creativity in each new season and SPRING DESIRE is no exception.  The three works expose desire in the most exciting, passionate and varied formats.  Who would think to pair “Age of Innocence”, a setting of men and women in the Jane Austin era, with the music of modern Philip Glass?  “Age of Innocence” opens with a richly lit background of three panels of ruby colored looped drapes.  A large corps in a Virginia reel-type formation changes to a variety of 21st century groupings entitled First Dialogue, The Men and Obey Thee. On rare occasions, choreographer Edwaard Liang chooses a few very unusual almost awkward moves which might be better deleted.  In the same vein, he decides to be quite literal at the end of one scene, where eliminating the final gestures may have been a better solution.  These two  points did not detract substantially from the overall beautiful, powerful and very exciting work.

Jerome Robbins 1970 “In the Night” distinguishes three types of romantic relationships in three separate pairings, which present exquisite dancing in fascinating contrasts.   The resolution of the struggle with the third couple, however, may challenge the sensitivities of today’s modern women.

 One important element contributing to the Joffrey’s brilliance comes from their commitment to letting the audience clearly see their dancers.  Yes, this assumption about dance is often forgotten by some dance companies, that combine a dark background, dim lighting and black costumes.  Even for “In the Night” using a starry starry midnight backdrop, one could clearly see every reach…every kick…every move of these fine professionals.

Over the past few seasons, the brilliant pairing of veterans Victoria Jaiani and Fabrice Calmels  will long be remembered by many patrons, but the Joffrey has such a strong field of talent and creates shinning duets from Jeraldine Mendoza, Mauro Villaneuva, Christine Rocas, April Daly, Miguel Blanco and  Temur Suluashvili.  These dancers and this complete Joffrey program can thrill the seasoned patron, fascinate the “sometimer”, and perhaps lure the novice to become a fan of an exciting new world of dance.   The  first time Caniparoli designed a ballet (Incantations) specifically for the Joffrey he wows us…let’s hope it is not his last! 

Highly Recommended

Margaret Eva

Date Reviewed:  April 25. 2012

Performances April 25, 2012 thru May 6, 2012.  Total running time is approximately 2 hours including  two intermissions.  Tickets: $30 -$149

At Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.  Chicago, IL.

TICKETS BY PHONE:  Joffrey Ticketing – 312.386.8905; Ticketmaster -800.982.2787

TICKETS IN PERSON: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University M–F 12–6pm

Box Office: 50 E Congress Pkwy and all other TicketMaster outlets.

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