Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

The Suzanne Farrell Ballet

Article excerpt

Eisenhower Theater, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington, D.C. October 23-27, 2002

Suzanne Farrell's ballet seasons, built mostly on her stagings of George Balanchine works, have drawn discerning viewers. On this year's opening night, much of the intermission talk concerned the eight-minute Variations for Orchestra. Farrell has changed Balanchine's 1982 Choreography--not steps so much as staging and concept. THIS SOLO USED TO BE LIKE SURGERY: BODY (FEMALE) AND TECHNIQUE (CLASSICAL) WERE VIVISECTED AND REBUILT. The result enhanced ballet's possibilities. Now, Farrell has added a shadow dancer to the flesh-and-blood dancer onstage. At first it seemed the real dancer, Bonnie Picard, was casting a big shadow as she moved, but then the shadow did a few things differently. Finally, to the music's last notes, the shadow took a bow, which the real dancer did only in the curtain calls.

Although Farrell had given Balanchine much of the movement material for Variations, it's apparent that their sensibilities differed. The new version's shadow distracts from the actual choreography. And that bow is just too prom-queen cute. There was conjecture, too, that Farrell danced the shadow, but it turned out to be an image of Picard projected onto the backdrop.

Another extreme work Balanchine made for Farrell, Tzigane, was on the company's other program. Tzigane always seemed like a solo because the woman enters first and dances by herself long before her man and the ensemble appear. It's as if she were conjuring them from thin air. This time, though, Momchil Mladenov was so alive as the gypsy lover that this role, like the shadow in Variations, also seemed added.

The one non-Balanchine ballet was to have been by Maurice Bejart. Instead, on both bills, there was Canada/Florida choreographer Anthony Morgan's A Farewell to Music. …

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