April 19, 2003
DANCE SALAD TOSSES
MODERN TOUCH INTO BALLET MIX
By Margaret Putnam, Copyright 2003 The Dallas Morning
For someone inclined to gluttony, Cullen
Theater was the place to be Thursday. Dance Salad Festival 2003
was a feast of talent from four continents that included dance
companies seldom or never seen in the United States. Ballet dominated,
but except for a pointe shoe or two and Ben Stevenson's lyrical
suite from Fountain of Tears for the National Ballet
of China, the style was essentially modern.
Trey McIntyre's Memphis, which
opened the program, set the prevailing mood – pensive and
occasionally passionate. Simplicity never looked so inviting,
as Crystal Brothers from Memphis Ballet walked in slowly and deliberately,
while Elvis Presley's "Blue Moon" wrapped her in an
emotional wall. Every turn and stretch was sharp as glass. When
the Staples Singers' "I'll Take You There" followed
and three men showed, she took charge, puffing on a cigarette
one offered. They took turns spinning her – her legs like
stilts – in ever increasing speed. When she leaped into
one man's arms, the two stared at each other with amazement, her
legs straight as a board. The losers shuffled off.
Surrealism and fantasy washed over
Sweden's Goteborg Ballet's Blue Ballerina, where the
floor was covered with rose petals and a ghostly figure in a filmy
chiffon tutu and cotton-candy wig appeared. Slowly, Uta Guttler
arose, reaching to tip toe and posing for several seconds. As
the music – Tschaikovsky's "Pathetique" –
swelled, she spun like Giselle or undulated arms Odette style,
but otherwise she moved with quirky, angled gestures. Men holding
balloons joined her, swaying backward.
The colorful outfits of Quasar Companhia
de Danca in Mulheres were a nice change from the muted
costumes and dim lights elsewhere. Rich in imagination, the aggressive,
disjointed movement suggested a deck of cards falling, as two
women tumbled and collapsed. A third, in black, took command of
a long red sofa, stretched out her legs and flipped back and forth.
Throttled energy surged and waned in
Buglisi/Forman Dance's Requiem , set to Gabriel Faure's
music. Five women in extravagant draperies rose and dropped from
their stools, occasionally whipping their dresses. Baroque formality
and grace captured another time.
The Dutch National Ballet's Suite From
Kurt Weill featured a lyrical pas de deux; a wary friendship
between two men who literally leaned on each other and the distant
connection between yet two more men.
The company also performed The
Grey Area – "about the space between the known
and the unknown" – which repeated a tiny segment of
an unfinished Bach work. Dancers spread out and realigned, as
smoothly and randomly as fish.
The comedy came with the amusing folktale,
Pointless Pastures, by the Swedish Cullberg Ballet.
For emotional impact, nothing could
match Netherlands Dance Theatre's Sigue, danced and choreographed
by the married couple Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon. He was clad
in flesh-colored tights and she in black dress. The two engaged
in a series of fluid lifts and long, suspended holds, her parked
on his knees.
The ending was breathtaking: the two
lied on the floor motionless while a misty powder descended from
a stream of light, until they were covered with powder. It was
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