Squiggles and lines

By MARCIA B. SIEGEL  |  February 2, 2010

The rest of the men join him in relays of two, jumping and posing delicately, and on Mozart's emphatic cadences they stride manfully off, to the audience's delight. In the Andante, the men circle slowly, swooping together with joined hands and coy chains and wavy formations that look as if they could have been invented by Isadora Duncan. The women invade their circle then, in long filmy skirts, and there are exchanges of patterns and attitudes. Mozart's quasi-military music takes over and brings back the macho stomping exits.

This second of the three dances seems to me the most interesting in its evolving patterns and references, but the whole evening is full of visual pleasures. What is less compelling to me is Morris's movement itself, which is always dry and formal even when it soars into leaping or game-board fun, and which imitates the music's every note and ornamental device.

Where Alonzo King isolates individual dancers and small encounters with only lightly connected movement ideas, Morris's stress is always on the group, and its potential for suggesting conceptual depth through compositional structure. Both choreographers regard their company members as equally accomplished, even though certain dancers get to do solos. In King's work, the complexity and almost randomness of the movement evens things out. In Morris's work, the individual action is always submerged in that of the ensemble, and they're all a product of the music.

Morris dancers augment their modern-dance training with choreographed balleticisms; to me they always look earthbound and folkish. His dances are like ballets, without ballet's elegance. King dancers apply sculptural amplitude to their ballet training. They always look long and aristocratic. In his trackless choreography, they seem lost, displaced, like émigrés waiting for someone to give them serious work to do.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Dance , Entertainment, Entertainment, Alonzo King Lines Ballet,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MARCIA B. SIEGEL
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MARK MORRIS'S SOCRATES, THE MUIR, AND FESTIVAL DANCE  |  May 22, 2012
    Erik Satie called his vocal work Socrate a "symphonic drama," though it's anything but dramatic in a theatrical sense — or symphonic, either.
  •   JOFFREY BALLET GETS ITS DUE  |  May 08, 2012
    New York has two great ballet companies, New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater. Any other ballet troupe that wants to put down roots there has to develop a personality that's distinct from those two.
  •   THE BOSTON BALLET’S DON QUIXOTE  |  May 01, 2012
    In the long string of ballet productions extracted from Miguel de Cervantes's novel Don Quixote, the delusional Don has become a minor character, charging into situations where he shouldn't go and causing trouble instead of good works.
  •   THE TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT IGNITES THE ICA  |  March 21, 2012
    When Trey McIntyre found a base for his infant company in Boise, Idaho, four years ago, eyebrows lifted in the dance world.
  •   BALLET HISPANICO FALLS SHORT  |  March 13, 2012
    All three dances presented by Ballet Hispanico at the Cutler Majestic last weekend depended heavily on costume effects to convey their messages.

 See all articles by: MARCIA B. SIEGEL