There’s a lovely passage in Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (1988) where something happens that you don’t often see: the dancers look down at their feet. The ballerinas on pointe, arms outstretched, step forward daintily, their eyes demurely cast down, as if they were moving from one rock to another to cross a mountain stream in spring spate. That’s the fresh feeling of this ensemble piece, set on Virgil Thomson piano etudes.
After spring must come summer and fall, and both of the latter seasons are represented in the superb There Where She Loved (2000) by Christopher Wheeldon. Cheery sexy pieces set on Chopin songs (performed by soprano Kate Vetter Cain with Glenn Sales’s accompaniment) (e.g., Brianne Bland’s post-coital joyful rolls on the floor) alternate with dark ruminations on love gone wrong by Kurt Weill. The most heart-breaking of these is “Surabaya-Johnny” (wrenchingly interpreted by mezzo Shelley Waite): serially monogamous Luis R. Torres dances through three girls, Diana Albrecht, Morgann Rose, and Jade Payette. Unfortunately the background scrim created some nasty moire patterns when it was hit by the follow-spot.
I have a weak spot for Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs (1982), and not in a good way, as it is scored with some of the worst late-career excesses from the singer Frank Sinatra, chief among them the smug attitudinizing of “My Way.” But it’s hard to resist Erin Mahoney-Du as the comic drunk girlfriend who won’t leave the bar, her trapeze dress failing to stay in place to cover her bottom, in “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road).” Or the adolescent fumble of “Somethin’ Stupid” by Maki Onuki and Zachary Hackstock. Ball gowns for the women, designed by Oscar de la Renta, are stunning.
- Genius!, The Washington Ballet, Sidney Harman Hall, Washington
The comfy seats in the Harman Hall steeply-raked balcony have extra-high backs.