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Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company

by Wendy Goldberg
November 4, 2009
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430
The dazzling, commedia del'arte, a spritely flash of sixteenth century Italian comedy, featuring the stellar choreographic panache of Christopher Wheeldon, pleased the audience immensely. The diamond jaguered dancers careened effortlessly between real life characterizations, and sheer buffoonery transitioned with the kind of exquisite expertise that leaves a sense of floating ease.

Leaving Songs, by Tim Harbour, was filled with romantic enticements, unquestioningly beautiful, with an overlay of lightness and suppleness which seemed to expand the dancers space. The couples morphed into more robust, angular, vibrant groups with a clearer, almost imperative purpose.

Softly as I leave You, by Lightfoot Leon, a more intense, intimate work, portrays a woman trapped in a box, who escapes to explore love with her amazingly acrobatic lover, only to abandon him in the box, and disappear into the silent blackness. Their attempt at love, though sensual and soulful, ends in bleak existentialism.

Bolero, by Alexei Ratmansky, while it had elements of modern and ballroom phrases thrown into the balletic libretto, would have been far more exciting with the use of an emerging storyline, glitzy, gauzy costumes, and edgier choreography.

Ballet need not be a totally rigorous repitition of spartan practice and regimented movements shot through with rarefied moments of luscious red flowered ballerinas flying fluidly through space, with impeccable technique, partnered by liquidly, graceful men, daringly defying gravity between arabesques and adagios.

We look forward to seeing great works from Christopher Wheeldon, and his collaborators. Exploring a new language of dance, which incorporates diverse elements of ballet, modern, ballroom, etc. may be an exciting way of attracting a new audience to dance. Taking risks, using all the available levels of space, story, and vocabulary while seeking their own inimitable, signiture voices will take time to emege … but may create a new form of dance and audience which we await with great anticipation!
MORPHOSES, Wendy Whelan and Andrew Crawford in RHAPSODY

MORPHOSES, Wendy Whelan and Andrew Crawford in RHAPSODY

Photo © & courtesy of Erin Baiano

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