I'm saving some of my old cassettes as MP3s. It's time consuming, but I want to preserve some of these favorites - like this scene from Act III of MADAMA BUTTERFLY in which Elena Zilio delivers Suzuki's anguished lines so vividly. Peter Dvorsky is Pinkerton and Richard Stilwell sings Sharpless
Joshua, who recently appeared as one of Wendy Whelan's choreographer/partners for her RESTLESSCREATURE project, brings a diverse program to The Joyce. Featured works are the U.S. premiere of burrow, a duet for Royal Ballet dancers Matthew Ball and Nicol Edmonds, and the world premiere of Surface Properties, an ensemble work performed by ten dancers from American Ballet Theatre to a score by Mark Mellits and Michael Gordon. Also on the program are excerpts from Pierced, Beamish’s 2013 piece exploring the darker side of love.
On July 30th, Joshua invited me down to the Martha Graham studios on Bethune Street where he showed me a run-thru of Surface Properties. This was only the second time that the dancers went thru the entire piece; it's a big-scale and very active ballet, and the Mellits/Gordon score is propulsive and wonderfully danceable. Alternating full-ensemble passages with a series of fleeting solos and pas de deux, trois, etquatre, the work sustains our interest in its complex and sometimes whimsical partnering, unexpected match-ups of dancers, stylized port de bras elements, and unabashed physicality.
The dancers, who rarely have a chance to do anything like this at ABT, leapt enthusiastically into this fresh experience, embracing the non-stop movement with technical brilliance and affording an opportunity to savor both their dancing and their personalities at close range. They are a super bunch: Zhongjing Fang, Isadora Loyola, Luciana Paris, Lauren Post, Cassandra Trenary, Stephanie Williams, Sterling Baca, Grayson Davis, Jose Sebastian, and Roman Zhurbin.
I look forward to seeing Surface Properties, costumed and lit, on The Joyce stage.
The jazzy score comes to us from The Bad Plus, and the ballet is performed by a quintet of Lydia Johnson Dance's distinctive dancers: Sarah Pon, Blake Hennessy-York, Laura DiOrio, Katie Martin-Lohiya, and Chazz Fenner-McBride.