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Flash Review 3, 2-13:
Young Company Lacks Maximum Impact
By Lauren Feldman
Copyright 2001 Lauren Feldman
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida
-- I was excited by the prospect of seeing Miami's Maximum Dance
Company in its Fort Lauderdale debut Saturday afternoon at Bailey
Concert Hall in Broward County, as it was also the company's debut
for me. Unfortunately, I didn't leave as excited as I had arrived.
The audience, however, seemed to love every second of the performance.
Most of the people surrounding me couldn't stop talking (even during
the dancing!) about how happy they were to have Maximum up in Broward,
especially with the possibility of a full season here next year.
They also whispered to their friends that both of the artistic directors,
Yanis Pikieris and David Palmer, had danced with Miami City Ballet,
as had two other Maximum dancers. Interestingly, many people seated
near me expressed surprise at the small audience. I overheard one
woman say that they had given out the wrong telephone number for
the box office. If that was the case, it was a shame that more people
who might have come to see the performance didn't because of a publicity
The dancing was all technically
excellent, and the pieces chosen for this performance were said
to be staples of the company's repertoire. However, something seemed
to be lacking in all but one piece. Perhaps it was my imagination,
or the lack of enthusiasm from a less than full house, but I got
the sense that the dancers were a bit disappointed. The first piece
was "Bound for Brubeck," choreographed by Palmer with music by Dave
Brubeck. The movements were at once fluid and percussive, appropriate
for Brubeck's jazzy music. The piece finished with some fun floor
work and swingy movements, but I was anticipating more.
Next was "Scheherazade,"
with choreography after Michel Fokine, and music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
Douglas Gawriljuk and Andrea Dawn Shelley displayed their technique
well, but I felt again like the piece needed more oomph -- whether
from the dancers themselves or from the staging, I couldn't tell.
"Bach de Trois," choreographed
by Nikolai Kabaniaev, had to be my favorite of the show, and the
only piece that really came into being on stage. Jacques Loussier's
arrangement of Bach's music was remarkable, as was the moving, and
often comedic, choreography. Loussier wove Bach's highly-structured
music into sensual, jazzy sections and then back again, with several
of his prominent compositions. The perfection of the integration
of Bach and jazz made me wonder why no one had attempted this particular
musical exercise before. Pendulum-like movements, along with fall
and recoveries full of breath, reappeared throughout the piece in
many different reincarnations. Marife Gimenez and Hiroko Sakakibara
showed excellent control and theatricality throughout the piece,
and Mikhael Plain showed his strength and suppleness in his solo,
The final piece, "Adiemus,"
choreographed by Pikieris and Palmer, with music by Karl Jenkins
from "Adiemus Songs of Sanctuary," was a woodsy dance that reminded
me vaguely of a mix between Enya and the "Lion King" soundtrack.
Unfortunately, I don't think that was the desired effect. This piece
did do what it proposed in the program notes to do, in that it did
show the "abilities and artistry of the cast," but I didn't think
it was quite as "celebratory" as was promised. I do hope to see
this company again in Miami Beach, because I feel that Maximum Dance
is a technically admirable company with an honest desire to bring
contemporary ballet to South Florida. Perhaps next time I'll enjoy
the program as much as my surrounding audience members did on Saturday.
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