‘A feat of spectacle’ Review by Guest Critic: Rebecca Ritzel Oh, the early musicians. They are the nerds, outliers and…
More often than not, Charlotte Ballet (formerly North Carolina Dance Theatre) searches for a celebratory finish to its summer season with a “Shindig” or the saloon-savvy “Western Symphony” or a decidedly “American in Paris.”
Charlotte Ballet (formerly North Carolina Dance Theatre) built its reputation on George Balanchine’s nimble neoclassical lines, filtered through the combined joie de vivre of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride.
It’s particularly satisfying when the music plays a substantial role in driving an evening of dance.
This has been the summer of Sasha.
Guest review by Jane Vranish.
Choreography is like the air that dancers breathe.
North Carolina Dance Theatre faced a limited rehearsal window on Monday, and it was moved back due to a conflicting rehearsal for this weekend’s upcoming Romeo & Juliet Project. Yet despite that, and a subsequent 20-degree temperature drop that changed the stage conditions, NDCT overcame all obstacles to deliver an emotionally charged “Evening of Pas de Deux” in the Amphitheater. [w/ SLIDESHOW]
The duet format may be part and parcel of the performing arts, from a theatrical dialogue to a concerto for two violins. But the duet occupies a special place in dance, where it is known as the pas de deux. In the classical vein, it is most often the pinnacle of a full-length ballet, as the leading dancers convey the culmination of a romance through movement.
Ballet is a decidedly aristocratic art form, born in the courts of Europe and still, even today, laced with proper positions and bows. Major European ballet groups in Paris, London and Moscow each have precise stylistic proportions and repertoires that are embedded in the history of the art form.
So it is fun to watch how American companies have taken a formal and often staid dance format and given it their own twist, which local audiences can see in an open air, festival-like setting such as Chautauqua’s Amphitheater. However, they thankfully have not often had to deal with cool temperatures such as those seen at the surprisingly terrific — given the circumstances — final performance of North Carolina Dance Theatre and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, expertly conducted by Grant Cooper.
There was plenty of pickin’ and strummin’ amid the pirouettes Wednesday night as North Carolina Dance Theatre and Greasy Beans tickled each other’s fancy for some “Dance Innovations” at the Amphitheater.
But before the company served up Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s party-hearty “Shindig,” members of NCDT’s resident stable of choreographers took their turn with a pair of ballets that opened the program on a more solemn note.
Mark Diamond’s “How Do I Love Thee” held the promise of romance, built on the enduringly famous relationships between two 19th-century couples: Robert and Clara Schumann, and Elizabeth (Barrett) and Robert Browning.
Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, as author John Gray once suggested in his 1992 book. But the eternal interplay between the sexes has been a constant source of fascination to society throughout the centuries.
But nowhere is it more fascinating than in dance, as shown during North Carolina Dance Theatre’s journey Wednesday night in its latest edition of “An Evening of Pas de Deux.”
Lately there have been rare occasions when duets have been choreographed for men and, on rarer occasions, two women might take the stage. But the traditional pas de deux form evolved from full-length classical ballets, using a slow, supported opening called an adagio, followed by solo variations for the male and female. It culminated in a coda, where the dancers could unleash their technical brilliance in alternating dance passages filled with high-flying jump combinations for the man, succeeded by scintillating pointe work for the woman and dazzling turns for both.