Second sight

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  May 28, 2010

In Sarabande (in part to the movement of that name from Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2), it’s the gowns that hang over the six men as they lie prostrate. And as they channel their inner child, their inner adolescent, their inner cowboy, their inner Marine, their inner primate, Kylián strips them of their undershirts (stowed in the overhead dresses), their trousers, their dignity. It’s only a matter of time before the howler-monkey screaming starts. In Falling Angels (to Steve Reich’s Drumming, Part 1), the women answer: they’re gazelles, they’re ostriches, they’re hunters, and men are their quarry (or is it the audience?). There’s a lot of shirt tugging and body examination, and it ends with the women supine on the floor, frozen in birth/orgasm/death.

Where are we after that? Back in the 18th century — but now the sexual politics have turned into sexual parody. In Sechs Tänze (to Mozart’s K.571 German Dances), the men, bare-chested and in powdered wigs, attempt to reassert their primacy by playing “seduce the servant girl,” but the servant girls give as good as they get, and when the gowns reappear, it’s the men who get “dressed” and start to run after (or away from) one another. The piece ends in a blizzard of powder and soap bubbles, the four couples backing off in wonder at the romance and the ridiculousness of it all.

Highlights? Kathleen Breen Combes and Sabi Varga in No More Play’s extended duet; Whitney Jensen and Boyko Dossev in their Petite Mort duet; Yury Yanowsky, his trousers around his ankles, gyrating like a Chippendales Colossus of Rhodes in Sarabande; Jaime Diaz in the same solo; Melissa Hough’s explosive Falling Angels breakout; James Whiteside’s exaggerated clowning, Megan Gray’s exaggerated outrage, and Misa Kuranaga’s zombie girl in Sechs Tänze. Kudos, in fact, to the entire company. And the first weekend-audiences, at least, had no Kylián problem — they ate up Black & White as if it were a hot-fudge sundae.

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