Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com iPad Edition

New!
Read ExploreDance.com on your iPad!
Only $0.99 per issue! No ads!
www.exploredance.com/subscribe.htm
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Lori Ortiz
Performance Reviews
Ballet
The Joyce Theater
USA
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Hey, Going to the Joyce—Kansas City Ballet Debut – 'First Position', 'Brahms Paganini', and 'Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City'

by Lori Ortiz
March 15, 2008
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800
The Curtain opens on Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director William Whitener's "First Position," a classical style ballet with the women in long romantic tutus and stretchy gray bodice—practice clothes for a fin de siècle rehearsal. The company immediately puts us at ease. Matthew Powell stars, merely sitting at the side looking on.

In Movement 2, Powell sits in the center of two adjacent rounds, flitting from one to the other. As though he cannot be satisfied with the dream of dancing, he springs into action. In a dazzling group, a lead pair forms the face of a diagonal line of jagged tutus. It ends with Powell unashamedly alone on the stage, in a considered series of ballet poses.

The steps are so expansive that the shallow Joyce stage looks cramped for twelve. A wonderful space eating jete astonishes us though, and Breanne Starke stands out in her brief solo pas. It ends satisfyingly with Powell in solo responding to the music just so. With the men in brown, except for Powell, who wears white, the formations richly articulate, and the exquisitely decked out greeting is well received. The wonderful costumes are by dancer Lisa Choules and the music, not very interesting, is recorded Glazounov. Surely the piece is more effective with live music.

The music is much more inspiring in Twyla Tharp's 1980 "Brahms Paganini." Tharp found it so, and we do also. The reconstruction is the evening's anticipated treat, and it doesn't disappoint. "Variation on a Theme by Paganini" alternates between Brahms lyricism and Paganini's seductive flash. Book I is an epic solo for Logan Pachciarz that never gets boring. It's as if we are following in his, and Tharp's stream of consciousness regarding the music, and quotidian life. He spins first one way, and then reconsidering, reverses his multiple turns.

Jennifer Tipton designed the lighting and the costumes are by Ralph Lauren, athletic, pedestrian clothing, and 70's white Catalina shorts for the women with colorful tops and sashes, sporty chinos and pastel shirts for the men. Book II is an athletic quartet, with the men lifting and turning the women upside down several times. The moves are very stretched and expansive. Stayce Camparo, in her brief solo pas, lets her balletic rigor serve the Tharp appearance of carefree and limber. Tharp and KC Ballet (The staging is by former Tharp dancers Whitener and Shelley Freydont) have managed a work where nothing particularly amazing occurs, but we are changed and everything seems OK. It is as relevant today as ever. But we're soon brought down to earth.

Ever company has to have their jazzy number and KC Ballet's is the epitome. Donald McKayle has made a new work that premiered in February at Kansas City's Lyric Theatre, along with the Tharp. "Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City" closes the curtain with caricatures of 30s revelers, dances, and depression era blues. It consists of seven dances, titled for their music. The company comes out in fancy dress, dancing to Euday Bowman Ensemble's "12th Street Rag." "Swingmatism" (Jay McShann and His Orchestra) is the old story—a trio of goofy men unsuccessfully chases the elegant Chelsea Wilcox. To Jessie Stone & His Blues Serenaders' "Starvation Blues," they wear coats and warm their buns over a red hot spot of light center stage (Kirk Bookman's design.)

Kimberly Cowen and Luke Luzicka tango to "Taurus Mood" by Mary Lou Williams Trio. She smoothly circles him, supported in the air; her feet in silver stilettos are crossed beneath a slit-open red velvety gown. "Max Making Wax," a Charlie Parker number, is a wonderful quintet of men. "King Alcohol," by Buster Smith is, you guessed it, a drunken trio. Then in "Jumpin' by the Woodside," the dance floor's hoppin' with their jitterbuggin'. A blurry, projected deco design is the unfortunate, or underfunded scenery, except for "Starvation" and for the tango couple, dots of gobo-filtered light resemble the glint of a ballroom chandelier. They dance up a storm and the caricatures, done with very arched backs and pelvis's jutting forward, express the bawdy era. A highlight of this period remembrance, and the most convincing, is the men's quintet. The African-American influence gives "Hey-Hay" polish and rooted cogency. No surprise, from black modern luminary McKayle.
Twyla Tharp's Brahms Paganini Kansas City Ballet Dancers Deanna Hodges, Paris Wilcox, Caitlin Cooney & Lateef Williams

Twyla Tharp's Brahms Paganini
Kansas City Ballet Dancers Deanna Hodges, Paris Wilcox, Caitlin Cooney & Lateef Williams

Photo © & courtesy of Steve Wilson


William Whitener's First Position Kansas City Ballet dancers (Catherine Russell in front)

William Whitener's First Position
Kansas City Ballet dancers (Catherine Russell in front)

Photo © & courtesy of Steve Wilson


Donald McKayle's Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City Kansas City Ballet Dancers

Donald McKayle's Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City
Kansas City Ballet Dancers

Photo © & courtesy of Steve Wilson


Donald McKayle's Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City Kansas City Ballet Dancers

Donald McKayle's Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City
Kansas City Ballet Dancers

Photo © & courtesy of Steve Wilson

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health