Ballet British Columbia, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Canada, January 22-24, 1998
Meyers, Deborah, Dance Magazine
French choreographer Myriam Naisy made her new Petites Donses pour Mammiferes ("Short Dances for Mammals") at the Banff Centre for the Arts, a creative haven abutting the Canadian Rocky Mountains. So it's not surprising that the work is all about landscape, about context and unlikely juxtapositions. In a set of strange, lyrical dances set to Arcangelo Corelli's Sonata, Op. 5, for violin, viola, and harpsichord, and a sound-scape of creature noises and water, ten dancers meet formally as an ensemble, then break off for extended one-on-one encounters. The work has a sustained and intrinsic tension all its own. This kinetic edginess is underscored by the look of the piece, a weird mixture of seventeenth-century costumes and minimalist chiffon shirts and shifts, and a constellation of lightbulbs canopying the stage, a starry sky that dawns, light by light, as the ballet progresses.
The company dancers looked ravishing in Petites Donses. They also looked at home in Serge Bennathan's 1994 In and Around Kozla Street (Warsaw). Set to Arne Eigenfeldt' s haunting, melodic score, the ballet is a series of pictures in half-tones: it has the look of a fading photograph. …