Magazine article Dance Magazine

Lines Contemporary Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Lines Contemporary Ballet

Article excerpt

JOYCE THEATER JUNE 4-9, 1996 REVIEWED BY ALICE NAUDE

Alonzo King's Lines Contemporary Ballet performed ambitious ensemble pieces during its New York season. While King's orchestration of costumes, lighting, music, and movement is impressive, his choreography suffers from trying to do too much, so that beautiful dancing became muddied and unremarkable. On the other hand, the premiere of a simpler pas de deux stole the show with its ease and classicism.

King's choreography morphs ballet into the more expressionist territory of modern dance. Women on pointe meet men who reel with low-slung, grounded jumps. A pair of dancers intertwine and partnering is pushed to its limit so that their bodies become a primeval tangle. Arched backs are carved out against Lisa Pinkham's stark lighting. But these strong gestures don't always blend easily and, fighting each other, can make mood, ideas, and feeling hard to glean.

String Quartet falls into this trap. Divided into seven sections and set to a rasping score by Pawel Szymanski, the work traces relationships between pairs and trios. The women wear "hoop shorts" which splay out at the hem into a stiff, wire circle. The dancers' bodies form geometric shapes, at times cantilevered against one another, but the piece is without an emotional architecture to guide the sections and make their sum coherent.

Sacred Text is similarly scattered The ballet, set to North Indian music, is full of images: the silhouette of a man dancing against a glowing orange orb; a woman walking offstage while, at her side, a man crawls majestically on all fours like a leopard; a woman floating upwards in a harness while red petals fall around her. …

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