to you by
New York manufacturer of fine dance apparel for women
and girls. Click here to see a sample of our products and a
list of web sites for purchasing.
With Body Wrappers it's always performance at its best.
Go back to Flash Reviews
Report, 7-13: Frankfurt Farewell
One Great Dance Company, (hopefully to be) Reproduced
By Laurie Uprichard
Copyright 2004 Laurie Uprichard
PARIS -- One could truly
say that tout le monde, everyone, was there. Saturday, July
3, 2004, the final performance of Ballett Frankfurt, at Theatre
National de Chaillot. The Eiffel Tower fills the window in the main
lobby of the theater. It looks huge, imposing, and so close you
could touch it, the way mountains in the Rockies appear yards rather
than miles away. And at 11 p.m., after the show, the golden lights
joyously blink, emblazoning the celebration of this grand finale.
Who was there? Jennifer
Binford (former Graham dancer and extraordinary Graham interpreter
in Richard Move's Martha @ shows) was on her honeymoon! Senta Driver
came to see this repertory; "I have no idea which rep. will remain
with the new company." (The Forsythe Company, which launches in
January in Frankfurt and Dresden, will be made up of 18 dancers,
including 16 from the current company of 32, according to Forsythe.)
British choreographer Wayne McGregor and Sadler's Wells programmer
Alistair Spalding. Irish choreographer and company director John
Scott. Paris resident and ex-New Yorker, choreographer Jennifer
Lacey. Swedish choreographer Kenneth Kvarnstrom, etcetera, etcetera.
The average age was young -- maybe 30. Japanese and English were
spoken as much as French. (In fact, an announcement over the house
system that the program order had changed was made in English...
only in English.)
The program includes
three of the four pieces seen at BAM's Next Wave festival last fall
(and reviewed here
by Gus Solomons jr) -- "The Room As It Was," "(N.N.N.N.)," and "One
Flat Thing, Reproduced." In lieu of "Duo," shown on the BAM program,
we see "Ricercar," a quartet set to David Morrow's piano variations
on Bach's Ricercar de 6.
The company looks magnificent
and seems to be giving its all. The breathing that Gus referenced
that keeps them in sync could have been emanating from the players
at Wimbledon. I longed to read the rules handbook for the games
the four men play in "(N.N.N.N.)."
"Ricercar" is an edgy,
uncomfortable work. The music isn't pleasant. Midway through, Christopher
Roman has a solo in which he shakes spastically, distortedly, seems
suddenly crippled, and retreats upstage where he passes this affliction
on to Allison Brown and Fabrice Mazliah, who have been casually
sitting on the stage watching him. They scooch down the diagonal
from upstage left to downstage right with hunched shoulders. Nothing
is resolved. At the curtain call, a dancer stands in the wings taking
flash photos of the cast.
"One Flat Thing, Reproduced"
is, as Gus called it, the big finale. The 20 tables are cacophonously
yet precisely pulled into place. The cast's running between and
over them is stunning for both its chaos and its precision. Richard
Siegal's shoot through vaults onto a table with perfectly pointed
toes would garner a 10 in Athens. Antony Rizzi seems to be everywhere
at once -- mid-stage pinning someone onto a table, downstage under
another one; his brief solo shimmers. The energy, multiplied by
Thom Willems's score, is palpable.
Then, the final curtain
call. The cast bows, four or five times as they have after each
piece, to enthusiastic applause. Thom and Bill come out to a rousing
standing ovation. Former company members begin to come down from
their seats, throw flowers on the stage, take photos, then join
the cast. Stephen Galloway gets a mike and starts announcing everyone's
name as they step up. Antony Rizzi runs to the front of the stage,
greeting, hugging, and pulling them into the group. There must be
70 people onstage. (Forsythe, quoted in Alan Riding's New York Times
article of July 5, noted that 130 dancers had come through the company
over its 20-year history.) Finally, Bill slices his finger across
his throat, signaling "enough," and the curtain falls. Applause
roars from behind the curtain.
After the show, everyone
who's invited to the party (500, I heard), plus many who don't have
official invitations but have been told to hang out (probably another
500), wait to be let in, chatting happily and watching the Eiffel
Tower blink. Although there are a few tears, the mood is generally
cheerful. The knowledge that there will be a new beginning with
a new company, despite its reduced size, keeps much of the sadness
Laurie Uprichard is the executive director of Danspace
Go back to Flash Reviews