Post Ballet’s Fourth Season, Lam Research Theater

24 Jul

Artistic Director Robbert Dekkers chose three prior works to precede his 2013 premiere “field the present shifts” [the title was printed in lower case] with music commissioned from Matthew Pierce, costumes by Christine Darsch, projections by  Robert Gilson and Catherine Caldwell, and lighting by David Robertson. Dekkers used seven dancers, four men and three women, largely as a group, movements in common, in four different styles of attack, culminating in a return to the original exposition.  The dancers were Aidan De Young, Ashley Flaner, Domenico Luciano, Jane Hope Rehm, Christian Squires, Raychel Weiner, Ricardo Zayas. The four violinists were Alan Lin, Debbie Spangler, Noah Strick, Ondine Young.

I saw this program Thursday, July 18, 2o13.

Christine Darsh’s costumes were dyed an interesting shade of orange fading into the original off-white color of the tights, the men stripped to the waist, the girls in unitard form embellished by the orange material waving slightly above the breasts, while the men’s tights flared at the waist line.

Suspended from the ceiling were six clumps of spaghetti-looking white strands, meeting and clasped at the top in  Japanese gift embellishment style.  Behind, the projections commenced with a starry night, gradually forming several vertical lines.  Into these lines lineal forms were introduced – stringy  at first, gradually forming more doodle-like arrangements, cross-hatching, reaching beyond a single column, assuming bigger and more complex if geometric shapes.  At mid point, the projection became a massive, angular shaped piece of closely intersecting lines, as if projecting the tangled lines of bureaucratic procedure and protocol with some poor human efforts in facing the complexity..

In the four sections, a woman moved outside the collection of dancers, followed by another, then another, the group then coalescing in a new location.  Luciano made a similar thrust, establishing himself as the ensemble’s leader, more or less, though one remembers it was a woman. the initial venturesome one.

The lineal forms, resembling decorations on a gift box wrapped Japanese style , slowly descended to brush the floor.  Just before the movement summary, Luciano briefly moved through it with an inquiring walk; in the background a woman did her own exploration of another clump of the voluptuous, if see through, white threads.  Gradually, however, the ensemble, though milling around separately, again began to coalesce while the the gift box strings slowly ascended.  The music repeated its original theme and the dancers, like the Sonata Allegro form, gathered together;  there was an abrupt blackout.

Many in the audience displayed an ecstatic reaction, rising to their feet.  I found the choreographic sections did not transition smoothly or with meaning, despite the effort to portray the beginning of collective action, supported by the evocative music, lighting and stage decor.

For the other three pieces, “Colouring,” “Sixes and Seven” and “When in Doubt” Jessica Collado in Dekkers’ solo “Sixes and Seven” to Philip Glass music, was quite affecting.  Often, she would turn her torso and arm to the side, perhaps turning it from the shoulder, bending it at the elbow, gazing down at the limb and her action in slight surprise.

“Colouring” [Dekkers chose the English-style spelling]  involved a stiff white, blank piece of material suspended behind Ashley Flaner and Domenico Luciano, standing opposite each other. They responded to the black squares, curved and geometrical lines Enrique Quintero drew on the sheet.  Downstage right, choreographer Dekkers stood, signalling to the dancers with his fingers what movement pattern should be executed after Quintero had completed his strokes on the board,which sometimes appearing black or in some form the Asian calligraphers call flying white.

The exercise revealed a slow motion grasp of partnering, some beautiful passing forms when Luciano lifted Flaner or they circled each other like expansive sumo  belts. It remained essentially an exercise, albeit interesting.

Mr. Dekkers clearly is extremely conscious of shapes and forms.  The cover of his program depicted Dekkers and another male locked in an embrace with a woman semi-profile arms extended behind them, all apparently nude except for the woman’s tattoo ;that was more clearly revealed on the back cover where on pointe she semi-crouched.  The individual dancers’ pictures, largely head shots, seemed to reinforce the skin display.

The program also contains Dekkers’ belief regarding what is conveyed in each of the four pieces his program called “Four Plays.”  Somehow, I prefer to reach my own conclusions regarding this well-conceived, carefully presented program.


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