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Oregon Ballet Theatre - James Canfield Signatures presented at the Joyce Theater

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2002
New York, NY

About the Author:

Oregon Ballet Theatre - James Canfield Signatures presented at the Joyce Theater
UP (2002); Degas Impressions (pas de deux, 1992); Neon Glass (pas de deux, 1994); Alta Cienega (pas de deux, 2002); Coco (1999)

Review by Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2002


UP: Kudos to the lighting designer, Michael Mazzola, for the silhouette effect of dancers against various screens and special lighting effects. James Canfield, Oregon Ballet Theatre's Artistic Director, and a former Joffrey Ballet principal dancer, has most imaginatively choreographed seven unique dances to seven versions of Blue Moon, by Rogers and Hart. Katarina Svetlova performed with remarkable and polished showmanship in the Billie Holiday version, and Christopher DeMellier presented athleticism and bravura dancing in his dramatic solo. Each dancer or set of dancers seemed to be chosen wisely for the specific music and inherent emotion.

Degas Impressions: Kristin Bacon and Christopher DeMellier glistened and glided to Chopin's Nocturne in B-Flat Minor, evoking the Impressionist paintings of Degas, lovely white dress, formal black suit, pursuing and not pursuing, an approach-avoidance conflict, dramatized in sensual and sensitive partnering.

Neon Glass: Philip Glass' In the Upper Room was the catalyst for dances of mirror images, almost never touching, evocative and repetitive notes, finally uniting a couple in what could have been an Argentine Tango, with different music, different costumes, but with a lead-follow technique and attitude of intimacy and solace, the ultimate sharing of the musical moment.

Alta Cienega: Vanessa Thiessen and James Thompson were a most athletic duo, well suited to Love Her Madly, by The Doors. This was a high-energy piece, which was perfectly situated in the program and quite well received. In fact, some of the choreography could have been seen in Hustle and other ballroom events.

Coco: For me, the highlight of the evening, an homage to Coco Chanel, was this compilation of nine songs by my favorite singer, Edith Piaf, with a surreal sense of staging, including a floating violin, various dress mannequins, in different states of attire, and the star of this tribute, Katarina Svetlova, sporting a white turban, white pants, black top, and beads of pearls and gold. Svetlova mesmerized the audience, as well as her six partners, who represented design assistants and lovers, depending on the moment. In fact, Christopher DeMellier truly came alive, in his partnering and solos. Svetlova is a dancer to watch, one who possesses amazing flexibility, balance and musicality.

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