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Feld Ballet Tech - The Grand Canon, French Overtures, Yo Shakespeare, Mending

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 26, 2003
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

About the Author:

Feld Ballet Tech - The Grand Canon, French Overtures, Yo Shakespeare, Mending

(www.ballettech.org)

Eliot Feld, Artistic Director
Patrice Hemsworth, Ballet Mistress
Patrice Thomas, Production Stage Manager
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Patrick Lavoie, Guest Dancers

The Company: Lauren Alzamora, Wu-Kang Chen, Nickemil Concepcion, Andrea Emmons, Junichi Fukada, Ana Hernandez, Jacquelyn Scafidi, Sean Scantlebury, Lydia Tetzlaff, Jessica Tong, Patricia Tuthill, Jassen Virolas, Lindsay Yank, Ha-Chi Yu

Publicity: Audrey Ross, 212.586.3500
audreyrosspub@aol.com

Presented at the Joyce Theater
www.joyce.org

Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 26, 2003

(See Zlokower March 25, 2003 Review, See Abrams Ballet Tech Review)


Eliot Feld
Choreographer and Director of Feld Ballets/NY
Director of the The New Ballet School
Photo courtesy of Jim Varriale

The Grand Canon (1985): Choreography by Eliot Feld, Music by Steve Reich, Lighting by Allen lee Hughes, Performed by the Company. This relaxed work, which is choreographed like a kaleidoscope, kinetic and joyful, undulates with groupings of dancers, who create some of the most effective visual imagery I've seen in modern dance. This brilliantly inspired work, danced to a more enjoyable score by Reich than I have heard on other occasions, is one I would like to re-visit in the future, for its layered and fascinating textures—of tempo, of color, of configurations, of communal connections, of balance and buoyancy, and of its edginess (Grand Canyon?). Nickemil Concepcion provided a bravura performance, as did the other Company dancers, in a difficult choreography, due to the nature of the holistic imagery.

French Overtures (Premiere): Choreography by Eliot Feld, Music by Jean-Philppe Rameau, Costumes by Constance Hoffman and Cory David Ching, Lighting by Allen Lee Hughes, Performed by the Company. (See Zlokower March 25, 2003 Review). To see this piece two nights in a row was a joy. On this viewing, I focused on the amazing lighting design by Allen Lee Hughes, with changing coloring on the backdrops and effective spotlights on the dancers, which enhanced the severity of the hair and costumes. I also focused on the adorable hair adornments and the method in which the male dancers carried off the females in upside down fashion. Kudos to Patricia Tuthill, a most memorable presence in all her performances.

Yo Shakespeare (1997): Choreography by Eliot Feld, Music by Michael Gordon, Lighting by Eliot Feld, Performed by Nickemil Concepcion and Sean Scantlebury. This serious work, in contrast to the above, showed another side to Mr. Concepcion's versatility and also showcased Mr. Scantlebury, another muscular and technically skilled dancer. This was pure male dancing at its highest form, to a dissonant and effective score by Michael Gordon. Both Mr. Concepcion and Mr. Scantlebury tore through the entire stage and mesmerized the audience with the sheer virtuosity of their leaps and turns. Kudos to both.

Mending (1999): Choreography by Eliot Feld, Music by Michael Gordon, Scenic Design by Eliot Feld, Lighting by Allen Lee Hughes, Performed by Patricia Tuthill and Jassen Virolas. Mending is more than a dance, more than an experience, more than an image or set of images. Mending is a wild happening onstage, created by the team of Feld, Gordon, Hughes, Ms. Tuthill, and Mr. Virolas. First, the theater is jet black dark, and then we see a tiny orange flame, curled up in the fetal position, and it's Mr. Virolas, near naked, clinging onto a Lucite set, with a mirrored lighting effect, so that we see him in reflection, as well, moving muscle by muscle, inch by inch, across giant pegs on the Lucite set. The auditory image is the very loud wailing of sirens, repeated in tone and timing, over and over, in a frightening and disturbing manner, which adds to the edginess and daring of Mr. Virolas' movement.

Eventually, Ms. Tuthill appears, in a fleshy, bare leotard, and, in the same mood and purpose, she occasionally reaches and touches and is grabbed and lifted by Mr. Virolas. This piece reminded me of German expressionist art, with dark corners and angular images. Watching these two perform to sirens, and then to a repeated song about "wanting a woman", and then to organ music, was riveting and somatic. At the end of this piece, Mr. Virolas, hanging down from his legs, has maintained a tight hold on Ms. Tuthill's arms, and they sway back and forth, with connected and muscular motion. It should be noted that Ms. Tuthill performs this piece en pointe. Kudos to this brilliant and bravura team. Eliot Feld is a genius.

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