Boston Ballet, April 30, 2011
Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts
Choreography, Wm. Forsythe, The Second Detail; Helen Pickett, Part I, II, III; Jiri Kylian, Bella Figura.
I usually only pick up at best half of the dance at the first viewing and make up the difference at the second. In this case I get one shot, and here is my report, such as it is.
This is not beginner's work as an audience; there's very little called "dancey" in the sense of sweet ballet set in fantasyland; this is battle, battle rooted in neo-classical Balanchine inspired movement but set in the contested space that we call reality, the confrontation mania of our time, contests of sensuality and absurdity, the power trips and aggressiveness pervading our culture, the tension among genders.
Forsythe used a frequent music collaborator whose roaring electronic techo music is like a tiger's roar, to unsettle and intimidate. Pickett's dance was done to live accompaniment of Arvo Part's music. That is a privilege unto itself. And Kilian used Lukas Foss and a host of Baroque composers. No sugary Tchaikovsky here.
The Second Detail. Dancers enter the fray from sitting on a cube in a line of stackables, in some way even reminiscent of the stools used in the corners in a boxing match. And the fighting and the confrontation remains the motif. One thing I like about Forsythe is that often his dancers appear to be at rehearsal, just hanging around and suddenly they are deep into the fray, just the way life confronts us. Energy, power and speed, pairings and triplings, pas de deux and troi. In short bursts, quite exciting. (Don't know yet why the word THE is printed on a card downstage.)
Pickett's first two were sensual, fairytale-ish. Third part of three was Forsythe-like, interpreting through body and movement.
Kylian uses every bit of the stage, even the curtain to get his dancers to interpret his view of the body from birth to death.
Here's the NY times review: Boston Ballet's 'Bella Figura,' With a Forsythe Work - Review - NYTimes.com