Saturday, February 03, 2007

February 2007

Events -
Animals -
Music Performances -
Theatre Performances -
Dance Performances -

Ballet Austin trains its dancers in the Balanchine tradition, and therefore it seemed fitting that this piece kicked off its 50th season, in the program titled Classic Beauty. I realized the appeal of Balanchine, when I saw his works for the first time a few years ago. I am amazed at his mastery in creating fresh vocabulary and poses. I do not get to experience his works often, even though Texas hosts a company (Metropolitan Classical Ballet) with an ex-Balanchinian at its helm. I was looking forward to Serenade for a long time. It exceeded my expectations, and reflects the genius of Balanchine. Serenade is a timeless example of creating sophistication out of simplicity. Serenade is a prime example of how space can be well used, no matter the dimensions (within limits). Serenade shows how one can evoke moods without a story.

It is strange how stillness of 18 women with arms can draw one into the piece. Each section has a unique mood - and leaves people guessing of there is a story, even though GB states that one should not seek meaning in this piece. It manages to keep an ethereal mood over all. Houston Ballet has announced its 2007-2008 season, and Serenade is in one of its mixed rep performances. I am looking forward to enjoying the piece once more. The third act of Sleeping Beauty (the second half of the program) is always fun, although I am not sure why Red Riding Hood and the Wolf were invited to the Wedding. I was especially impressed with Ashley Lynn's performance. This season, the retirement of Margot Brown has brought Ashley to the front of the stage in principal roles, and her classical work shines. Images will remain online for a few months.

‘S (a tale of possession) by Hope Stone Dance, was a surreal experience. The opening scene, draws one to the wall of shoe boxes in the background, in contrast to the pair of shoes on a pedestal. The vocabulary and choreography was definitely leaning towards the contemporary. At times I seem to understand the symbolism being communicated, and at other times I was lost. Being lost does not imply that there was no message, just that I did not have the background to appreciate the message. The most memorable sections were the beginning, and the sequence with the bird cages. The choreography was interesting and thought provoking a majority of the time. This was the first time I experienced the work of the company, and am looking forward to the next one. The unique images from the performances can be viewed for a few months.

TexARTS's Big River was a joy. Not only because Mark Twain's Huck Finn (that the musical is based on) is a great story with rich characters, but also because of the production value and performers. The music (country style) is haunting, especially the spirituals, and the emendations were wonderful. This is TexARTS's second production, and they engage quality amateurs, upcoming talent, and veterans. The set, lighting design, costumes worked well with the strong performances of the characters. It kept the musical interesting throughout, and inspired some good photos.


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