Softly As I Leave You, by the Dutch team of Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, returned for a second run with Morphoses, featuring Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk in expressionistic solos of personal angst and a seduction duet. Trapped in a narrow box at the beginning, Jacoby escaped, then lured Pronk into the booth. She was scrambling along the outside of it when the lights went out.
Alexei Ratmansky’s Boléro wasn’t new, but it confirmed the choreographer’s great gift for combining craft with human warmth and kinship. I thought dances to Ravel’s Boléro ought to be banned forever. Those kitschy 15 minutes of variations on a theme of RUMP-pa pa pa paahhhRump.RUMP-pa pa pa nag at me for days afterward like a twisted ankle. But Ratmansky’s dance created a visual analogy to the way the insistent ground bass holds the whole musical structure together.
The dancers, only six of them, formed a unison coalition at the beginning. In ones and twos, they broke away to dance independently, but they always returned to the group, remnants of which seemed to be in motion somewhere in the background all the time. This sounds like any standard piece of ensemble choreography, but it’s the way Ratmansky engineers these comings and goings that makes them seem like casual, social passages instead of platforms to display dancing. It’s the way he makes the individuals reflect or contrast with the group while reminding us always that they’re part of a bigger community that marks him as an original.
, John Cage, Dance, Igor Fyodorovitch Stravinsky, More