Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 22, 2007

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Jacob's Pillow
August 22
By Rachel White

Wrapping up their 75th season, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival welcomes world renowned Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to the Ted Shawn Theatre. Respected as "America's Dance Company" for their popularity throughout the country an around the globe, the contemporary company brings a wonderfully diverse repertoire to the stage.

Opening the evening, the first of five pieces is titled Baker's Dozen, choreographed by the widely famous and beloved Twyla Tharp. Set to solo piano music, the work is playful and flirty, while it is performed with the precise technique the company has been famed for. The second work, Kiss, is innovative and intensely passionate. Staged with dramatic lighting, the two dancers are suspended by rope harnesses throughout the entire piece. Telling an incredible story of the highs and lows a romance endures, the work is crafted with deep emotion and personal conviction.

Lickety-Split is the third performance on the evening's repertoire. Choreographed by company member Alejandro Cerrudo, the piece is set to the unique music by songwriter Devendra Banhart. This sensual and playful work is peppered with delicate gestures amongst the beautiful lines and shapes created by the three talented couples. Passomezzo, the fourth number, is dynamic and wonderfully athletic. Performed by a perfectly paired couple, the duet tells an emotional story of the give and take a romantic partnership requires.

The final work of the evening, Gnawa, is by far an amazing and breathtaking journey to experience. Danced by seven couples, all tremendously talented with beautifully sculpted bodies, the work is crafted with captivating energy and grace. Formations and lines are endless throughout the piece, while the seductive fluidity is simply inspiring to watch. The piece truly exemplifies the beauty and art that the human body can create through movement.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is truly a company that continues to evolve and amaze through the years. A force to be reckoned with on the world stage of dance, they are sure to leave their audience inspired and in awe long after the curtain has closed.

August 7, 2007

Mark Morris Dance Company

Jacob’s Pillow
Aug. 7-11
By Stacy Ashley

The Mark Morris Dance Company returned for the Pillow’s 75th Anniversary Season with four pieces. Recognizing the opportunity to put live music with live dance, Morris invited musicians and vocalists from the Tanglewood Music Center. There is just something about having live music with live dance that makes it so much more.

The first two pieces were recently premiered and are nice additions to long list of works by Morris. In Italian Concerto the dancers move with precision performing trademark steps- the syncopated movements and the pendulum type swinging with arms and legs. I
In the piece Looky the dancers drift on and off the stage becoming either onlookers or the exhibit itself at a museum. Dancers move from one tableau to another, while other dancers perform ballet moves with mock histrionics. Morris, known for his humor and satire, didn’t miss the opportunity for some of the dancers to then become critics as they scribbled notes onto an imaginary notebook.

The last two pieces performed were Candleflowerdance and Love Song Waltzes. Candleflowerdance is a beautiful piece set to Stravinsky’s ‘Serenade in A’. The stage is set with scattered lit candles and flowers in a vase. The lighting is subtle to accentuate the mood. The six dancers push, pull, lean and collapse against each other, another Morris specialty. In Love Song Waltzes dancers shift through different partnering, moving across the stage creating formations that fold into one another. A witty and sentimental statement about love, Love Song Waltzes, was a beautiful way to end the evening.

August 1, 2007

Ballet du Grande Theatre de Geneve

Jacob's Pillow
August 1
By Rachel White

Staying true to founder Ted Shawn's vision and promise to bring the world's most innovative and diverse dance companies t Jacob's Pillow, the world famous dance community welcomes Ballet du Grande Theatre de Geneve to it's main stage this week. Performing two original pieces for their U.S. debut, the Switzerland based company bring a taste of the European dance scene for art enthusiasts to enjoy.

Opening the evening with Para-dice, the piece is performed with six dancers, all beautifully trained with exceptional classical ballet technique. The choreography, however, is anything but classical ballet. Crafted to demonstrate the dancers diversity, the contemporary work is performed to a variety of music, ranging from wildly exotic to tearfully beautiful. The dancers are fluid and dynamic all in the same moment and the symmetry of the lines and formations are molded with true artistic talent.

Loin is the second work performed of the evening and is a very diverse and complex piece of choreography. As a former professional dancer, turned educator and choreographer, this critic was awe inspired with the array of creative and passionate energy of which this piece was brought to life. Peppered with amazing timing and synchronized patterns, Loin is performed with beautiful athleticism and technique. A section that should be celebrated is performed wit two couples, all gorgeously trained and sculpted. A very modern twist on the classic pas de quatre, the couples demonstrate sheer grace and fluidity.

Ballet du Grande Theatre du Geneve brings a beautiful evening to their audience from the minute the curtain opens and leaves a lasting impression long after the evening ends. Though geared for the open minded dance enthusiast, the company brings a wonderful glimpse into the world of European dance and is sure to be enjoyed by all who venture into this rare and unique performance.