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Flash Review 3, 10-2: Dancing Angels on Earth
...And Sphinxes and Firebirds too, from DTH

By Tamieca McCloud
Copyright 2001Tamieca McCloud

NEW YORK --Dance Theatre of Harlem graced its audience with another strong performance Friday, with Program 3 of its latest series of performances at City Center. The night's company premiere was "Sphinx," choreographed by Glen Tetley, and accompanied by "Adrian (Angel On Earth)" and the classic "Firebird."

The performance opened with "Adrian (Angel On Earth)," a work created in 1997 as the end of a trilogy choreographed by John Alleyne (director of Ballet British Columbia). The dance was accompanied by Timothy Sullivan's wonderful score, "Two Pianos," which was performed by Michael Cherry and J.Y. Song.

"Adrian (Angel On Earth)" is a beautiful work performed by eleven dancers in softly colored costumes designed by Nancy Bryant. It is said to be the depiction of a hero's conversation with his spiritual partners as he experiences a physical and spiritual rejuvenation. This was successfully realized in the choreography and its execution, as the dancers beautifully personified the complexities of the music, weaving a light cloak of warmth and peace over their audience.

Where "Adrian" offered warmth, there was a starker quality to "Sphinx." The work was choreographed by Glen Tetley in 1997, and is accompanied by the music of Bohuslav Martinu. Though it depicts a story of the desire for love, there is a harshness to it that foretells its tragic ending -- true to its tragic Greek nature. Caroline Rocher, Ramon Thielin and Duncan Cooper danced the ballet, which was an interpretation of Jean Cocteau's play "La Machine Infernale."

A wonderful ending to the night's program presented itself in the performance of DTH's version of the classic "Firebird," as choreographed by John Taras. Much praise goes to the amazing footwork of Kellye A. Saunders, who without a doubt was the focus of the performance as the title character. There's not much to be said about this ballet, which has become a trademark of DTH, that hasn't already been said. If you haven't seen it performed by this company, you should.

One more thing to be noted about the night's performance: Live music! Enough said.

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