Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Onstage last night...

at the Opera House of The Kennedy Center was “Ballet Across America II” featuring Stanton Welch’s Falling performed by Houston Ballet, George Balanchine’s Monumentum pro Gesualdo and Movements for Piano and Orchestra by The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Shindig by North Carolina Dance Theatre. The Houston dancers were on fire, tackling the intricacies of Welch’s choreography with lightning fast legs and feet. The cast from North Carolina flew across the stage, propelled by live music from the Greasy Beans. In between Farrell’s dancers were more cool and - to use one of my favorite Dance History words - apollonian. During the post-performance discussion the company directors - Farrell, Welch and Bonnefoux with his wife Patricia McBride - answered the question “What is American ballet?” Farrell spoke about cultural diversity; Welch noticed the regional differences embraced by America which make something like Shindig quintessentially different from music and movement coming from the north. He made the apt comparison that America, the country, is like Europe, the continent, in its range of regional variations: the differences between France and Germany are like those between the north, south, and center of the United States, or even the east and west coasts. Bonnefoux said in his inimitable French accent: American ballet has to with energy and the joy of dancing. So true.

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