Magazine article Dance Magazine

Eugene Ballet Company

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Eugene Ballet Company

Article excerpt

EUGENE BALLET COMPANY SILVA CONCERT HALL, HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS EUGENE, OREGON OCTOBER 23-24, 1999 REVIEWED BY MARTHA ULLMAN WEST

Eugene Ballet's season-opening concerts were a glorious celebration of dance and dancing, replete with spectacle, color, and sheer joy.

Company artistic director Toni Pimble is that anomaly in the ballet world: a choreographer who knows her own worth but does not trumpet it. An evening devoted to her ballets is rare, but each of the three pieces (one a revival, the other two premieres) on the October program was a revelation of invention and mastery of craft. While common phrases ran through all three, each piece was different, each one exemplifying a vocabulary that is increasingly eclectic and a vision that is more richly textured with each new piece.

Skinwalkers (1995) is, wisely, not a pointe piece. The movement for this tribute to Southwest American culture was developed with longtime company member Jennifer McNamara, and while the uplifted arms of the women and the high leaps of the men bear little resemblance to earthbound tribal dancing, the traditional circular patterns were used to stunning effect. What the shape of the movement resembled most was Anasazi art, the ancient petroglyphs found in such holy places as Arizona's Canyon de Chelly.

South African composer Kevin Volans's score provided a rhythmic structure for the dancing as well as a windswept, desert mood, but Pimble's focus here is intensely visual. Each of the seven sections is based on a painting by Helen Hardin, a distinguished Native American artist. …

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