Updated: 8/16/15; 18:42:05

pedantic nuthatch
Life in a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. B.M.A.T.C., and Etruscan typewriter erasers. Blogged by David Gorsline.

Thursday, 5 February 2004

The refurbished Opera House has added a row of wheelchair-accessible seating across the center of the orchestra, and the seats have been supersized. The armrest on my aisle seat was wide enough to be worthy of an Adirondack chair. But it's the same grand drape with what looks to me like snuggling penguins.

posted: 9:34:23 AM  

American Ballet Theatre, Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington

The evening opens with the costume-driven Raymonda (Divertissements), staged by Anna-Marie Holmes after Marius Petipa. The "Grand Pas Hongrois" is notable for a catchy heel-click maneuver that everyone does. Gillian Murphy delicately dances the bourrées in her variation, and her dance also features a fetching pose with her head cocked, a hand to her head, arm akimbo.

After the first intermission comes Nacho Duato's Without Words from 1998. Franz Schubert's music is played by piano and cello. It's a ghostly, shadowy piece, with the cast in unitards that shade from golden to nude. At several points a dancer holds her hands to her head as if to shut out a painful memory.

The evening closes with Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison, with six songs set by four choreographers. There's an overall Broadway flavor to the suite, which starts of with Angel Corella hitch-kicking and mega-pirouetting to "Something," by Stanton Welch. Stella Abrera and Isaac Stappas spend a lot of time rolling erotically on the floor in Ann Reinking's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and I couldn't help wondering if they did because it needed sweeping. Welch's "Isn't It a Pity" breaks out of the boy-and-girl mode: in the first section, soloists dance isolated from the rest of the cast who cross the stage in a workaday trudge; in a happy ending, everyone dances together. To close the work, David Parsons has solved the puzzle of Harrison's (to speak plainly) monotonous "My Sweet Lord." He brings in a scrim from one of the downstage pipes, so that the space is constrained to a narrow lane. The eighteen dancers cross the stage always from stage right to left in series of individualized moves that accumulate into a marvelous, joyful, stately procession towards God.

posted: 9:22:30 AM  

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