Scheduling performances outdoors is a brave and risky business, as Island Moving Co. was reminded last Friday evening, rained out halfway through the program.
So, chill in the air or not, a frisson of danger will linger as the ballet company continues Flight of Steps, its outdoor dance series within the walls of Fort Adams State Park in Newport from July 23 through 26. Two programs alternate, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Choreography is by company members and guest artists, and costumes are by Eileen Stoops.
Opening the four selections in the July 23 and 25 performances is the only piece that is not a premiere. Scott Putmanís "Remembering the Air Along the Forgotten Path" was first seen this spring in Islandís Joyce SoHo season in New York. Putman choreographed to music from Sea and the Bells by Rachelís, for seven dancers. Ensemble sections are sometimes set against Mary Beth Murphyís strolling or standing in meditative reverie, though it is Danielle Genest who gets the most attention and expressive opportunities in the piece. Isolation in the midst of others is explored in this brooding work, a finalist in the companyís 2001 competition.
"Wallflower," choreographed by Carol Somers, is done to mazurkas by Chopin. As the name suggests, this solo by Eva Marie Pachecho gets into the state of mind of a neglected potential dancer on the sidelines. There is a wistful and serious element here ó the medium-tempo music, inspired by Polish folkdance, never breaks into a polka ó but mainly there is whimsy. This interior monologue in motion is from the point of view of a child, as Pacheco in a tutu cavorts about as earnestly awkward as a little girl. At points she is defiant, at others carefree, prancing flirtatiously, scuttling backward like a crab; for every graceful expression, another is too blurted to be beautiful.
Another company member, Alejandro Gomez, choreographed "Patio Andaluz," in which he performs. Flamenco-inspired music of the Gipsy Kings invites abrupt, angular movements. Four men begin the dance and anchor it, as Gomez, Michael Bolger, David Lawrence, and Rolando Troconis provide a visual tonic chord that is returned to. There is a stateliness to much of the piece, accentuated by Gomezís symmetrical design, such as when he and Bolger partner with Murphy: we learn to anticipate that turning her counterclockwise will be followed by turning her clockwise. The dance is soon enlivened as the men pair up with Murphy, Genest, and Lilia Ortola for some uptempo variations.
Similarly, we get a wealth of what amounts to simultaneous pas de deux in the work that follows. Miki Ohlsenís "Surrender" provides the most energetic opening of the evening. In the first movement, a galloping momentum is established within the lengthy, wordless opening passage of Sarah MacLachlanís "Silence," as the four pairs sometimes move in concert but mostly, elaborately, do not. In the second movement, Genest and Troconis dance to mournful lieder by Gustav Mahler, "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" ("I have been abandoned by the world").
On the July 24 and 26 program, "Surrender" will be performed, as well as "Remembering the Air." In addition, there will be a 2002 piece by Gomez, "Nostalgia." In it, dancing to two Spanish love songs, Gomez and Troconis do bare-chested pas de deux with Genest. That achingly romantic turn is followed by the wary Gallic rebuttal of "Je Ne Regrette Rien," the premiere of Pachechoís choreography to two songs by Edith Piaf. Bolger and Lawrence wear suits and ties here, as Pachecho and Murphy perform with them on alternate evenings. While the mood of the opening trio of this piece isnít quite a Marseilles Apache dance, the physical interplay is hardly sentimental. (Since dancers are as hardy a lot as French lovers, after Lawrence took a nasty spill on the increasingly rain-slickened stage July 18, he bounced right up. The company acknowledged the rain only after that section, concluding the performance halfway through the program.)
Island Moving Co. has been providing a wealth of dance lately. The weekend before staging this two-week showcase of four premieres, they held a two-day festival for 11 choreographers. There is more to come. In the regular season beginning this fall, both "Patio Andaluz" and "Je Ne Regrette Rien" will be performed again, in case you miss them this time.
Issue Date: July 25 - August 1, 2003
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