joy magnetism: Music in motion

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Music in motion

Magnet #848 - Dega's Dancers Resting

Today's magnet is Dega's Dancers Resting - which is currently not on view, but is part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts collection.

I have to confess, I've never been a fan of Degas. There's always something a bit skeevy about him, the man. It's something that always colors my view of the painter.

But today, watching the New York City Ballet company twinkletoe their way across the stage, I feel like I really see and get Degas and his dancers now.

I finally went to the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. No, it's not because I'm cultured. It's because I like architecture, and the NYCB invited renown architect Santiago Calatrava to set designs a few of their commissioned Spring season ballets, in a program called Architecture of Dance.

Such a great idea. Such a great partnership.

When I told the nice lady next to me it was my first ballet, and that my own background was more music-oriented, she was just so excited for me. She said I picked a great program, explaining to me how ballet was really just music in motion.

And how, nice lady. And. How.

The set opened with Donizetti Variations, a piece first performed in 1960, choreographed by George Balanchine, a co-founder of the NYC Ballet, and music by Gaetano Donietti. In a word, delightful.

The music was so airy and light, and it carried the dancers to the tops of their tippy toes. I'm fairly sure that feet just don't go in those directions naturally.

The company was dressed in (what I've always considered it to be) standard ballet dress of the turquoise family - the girls in fitted bodices with flouncy tutu-y skirts and tights, and the boys in fitted jackets and tights.

In such pretty contrast were the ballerina and ballerino (what, I looked it up!) were dressed in the same, only in pink! So cute! I loved it. So wonderful that 30 minutes went by, and I didn't even realize it.

The second set was Luce Nascosta (Unseen Light), choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti with music by Bruno Moretti. In a word? Powerful.

This was commissioned by the NYB, with Calatrava's set design. Simple, understated, gold discs in the sky, forming both an ominous and hopeful orb(s) over the starkness of the company dressed in black. This was hard to sit through - the first several minutes was performed in silence, then as the music opened and swelled, I was reminded of a Hitchcock score.

This was a more earthy, guttural ballet - at times sexy, at times angry, but all times powerful. Seriously. The dancers undulated and wrapped themselves around each other in such a visceral way, you couldn't help but watch.

The final piece was The Concert, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, with music by Chopin. In a word, hysterical.

I know! You're thinking, what? But I think the best part of this piece were the sounds of the kids sharing the Fourth Ring of Exile giggling uncontrollably at the farce onstage. Fun costumes, a pianist at the forefront, very funny staging, and excellent dancing.

I was completely taken aback at how three hours at the ballet could take me from light to dark to laughter. What a great performance, and congrats to the NYC Ballet for introducing ballet to a new audience with the Calatrava work!
Pin It!

No comments: