Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 23, 2011

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Jacob's Pillow, Becket, MA
through August 20, 2011
by Amy Meek

Credit: Lois Greenfeld
Jacob's Pillow, which is America's longest-running dance festival, has once again put together an eclectic, thought-provoking summer schedule of shows. The festival was a 2010 National Medal of Arts honoree, and it continues to provide Western Massachusetts with an array of top international dance companies and choreographers. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has appeared at the Pillow numerous times, because audiences love the unique energy and diverse repertory of the company.  This night was no different, and the dancers kept the audience engaged with a program of three commendable works.

The first piece, "Uneven," was choreographed by Cayetano Soto and displayed the dancers moving throughout the space with each other in complex shapes. They showed great control, strength, and agility in both solo and partner work and moved from curved to angular movements with fluidity and sharp accented beats. The dancing was enhanced by the beautiful cello music played by Kimberly Patterson, and the dramatic lighting and costumes.

"Stamping Ground" was created in 1983 by Jiri Kylian, an internationally acclaimed choreographer, based on traditional Aboriginal dance. The work explored the interplay of movements between percussion rhythms and silence. The mix of power and timing by the dancers made this an exciting and humorous work to watch.

The last piece of the program, "Red Sweet," was choreographed by Jorma Elo. It is a work often performed by this company which showcased classical ballet technique, although blended with contemporary and some hip-hop dance.The choreography was playful and complex and a light ending to the show.

Judging from the enthusiastic response from the audience, this company remains a favorite to watch at the festival.