Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Theatrical wrongheadedness

Classical Indian Tradition Bumps Up Against London Businessmen By CLAUDIA LA ROCCO October 8, 2007
But then, serious wasn’t the order of the evening, as was obvious from the start with the American premiere of “Quick!” by Srishti-Nina Rajarani Dance Creations. That piece abused eight classical Indian dancers and musicians by having them flash their feet and vocal cords to enact a day in the life of harried London businessmen. In this age of complex transcultural and immigration issues it’s unfortunate that the choreographer, Nina Rajarani, working with two very distinct worlds, presented such a clichéd metaphor.
Another United States premiere, an excerpt from the South African Via Katlehong Dance troupe’s “Nkululeko,” offered a similarly rousing ending, mixing percussive dance forms with high-energy music and flashy costumes. And while a stone-throwing pantomime offered a hint of complexity, as with “Quick!,” the dance was pleasurable only on a kinesthetic level, and only at times.
Camille A. Brown’s solo, “The Evolution of a Secured Feminine,” has plenty of charms, from fleet, voluptuous movement to Ms. Brown’s ability to play the sexy funny woman. But on Friday she seemed intent on torpedoing those charms through an excess of mugging. If you’re going to dance to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, you’ve got to play it a little cooler. Still, “Evolution” leaves an impression.
Elisa Monte’s 1979 duet, “Treading,” has been saved from its essential blandness in recent years by the superb Alvin Ailey dancers Clifton Brown and Linda-Denise Fisher Harrell. As danced here by Tiffany Rea and Matthew Fisher of Elisa Monte Dance, this atmospheric study, to Steve Reich music, neither pleased nor bothered. It just passed.
The polarizing ballet choreographer Jorma Elo can always be counted on to please and bother. An excerpt from his recent “Brake the Eyes,” performed by the Boston Ballet, had me firmly in the bothered category, from its fussy, overwrought movement sensibility to the silly score, which set Mozart against an ominous gonging and non-sequitur snippets in Russian. So much dancing, so little satisfaction.

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