This afternoon’s Fall for Dance performance had some of the most diverse programming Haglund has seen inside a theater. Diverse does not always equate with good, however, but generally one is willing to sit through what one doesn’t care for in order to get to the part of the program that one plopped down cash for.
In the case of this afternoon, Haglund did not plop down any cash at all. His friend, Azlan, hosted a group not only for the performance but for a delicious lunch – feast, really – at Lili’s 57. It was a most delightful afternoon among old friends and new acquaintances.Puppeteer Basil Twist's group was up first with his Petrushka Suite to Stravinsky’s score with movement based on the famous Fokine ballet. In the ballet, Fokine’s choreography brilliantly persuaded us that the dancers were puppets with big hearts and dark hearts, frustrations, passions, and jealousies. Twist presented us with actual puppets with several visible puppeteers behind each one. Wearing costumes true to the original Fokine production, the puppets, themselves, convinced us of their hearts and passions, and elicited considerable empathy from the audience. A collective sad and very sincere sigh was heard from the audience when the moor stabbed Petrushka who then died – dramatically. These puppets were really cute, and the invitation to fall into their fantasy was hard to resist.
Next up was Monica Bill Barnes & Company with dancers Anna Bass, Monica Bill Barnes and Deborah Lohse. Their offering entitled “I feel like” tried to capitalize on the oddness of the performers’ appearances to achieve physical comedy. In some instances, it succeeded. In her initial solo, Ms. Lohse, a lanky dancer with large features and a cropped reddish haircut, contorted her face as comedienne Carol Burnett might have been expected to, and then the other two dancers followed suit during their duet to a James Brown recording. All three wore what appeared to be wool skirts and sweaters that were popular schoolwear decades ago. They frequently lifted up their sweaters to reveal their navels or pulled down a sleeve to reveal a shoulder. It all represented the common misunderstanding among so many small modern dance companies that any and every creative act is art worth putting on a stage and asking people to pay money to see.Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Go for Barocco, a Balanchine parody by Peter Anastos, is really one of the Trocks’ tamer works. The program choice was probably a good one considering that so much of the audience had been drawn to this afternoon’s performance by the appearance of DanceBrazil, a group of hot, strutting Capoeira performers. The Trocks breezed through the challenging choreography in their size 13 pointe shoes with pecs pushing over the tops of their leotards. Compliments to Mme. Vanya Verikosa and Mme. Katerina Bychkova for their harmonious and hilarious pas de deux.
DanceBrazil put on an unbelievable display of Capoeira martial arts to music. The performers were truly hot in some very hot red-orange Capoeira pants. Okay, not really dance, but definitely performance. They are going to be at the Joyce Theater March 23 – April 4, 2010, but the Spring season is not up on the Joyce website calendar yet.
Haglund awards this hot leopard Pump Bump for this afternoon’s offerings: