Thursday November 20, 2008 - Choreographer Andonis Foniadakis has created a new setting of Stravinsky's RITE OF SPRING for the Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve and now has distilled it into a solo for Ioanna Toumpakari which is being presented at Joyce SoHo thru Sunday. Photo, courtesy of Mr. Foniadakis.
After watching a rehearsal of this production last night in which Ms. Toumpakari delivered a performance that left me in a state of awed admiration, I honestly wondered how she could improve on it an any possible way. But she did.
There's no way to separate the dancer from the dance here: Mr. Foniadakis has created a character that Ms. Toumpakari so ideally embodies. It is all of a piece and it distinctively resonates to the music. As Ioanna transforms herself from a very attractive contemporary woman into an ancient/timeless spirit of feminine passion we are led away from the theatrical context and taken on an intense personal journey.
During the forty minutes, the dancer shows us the strength and beauty of the female body in motion. Her near-naked state creates an atmosphere of savage purity as she moves thru the choreography in which Andonis has so perfectly shown us the music. His RITE is intimate, transforming and spell-binding...as is his dancer.
Her re-emergence at the end - quietly getting dressed and removing her makeup - makes us realize how far away we have been. As admirable as Ioanna's technical mastery of the choreography and sheer physical dedication are, it is the depth of her emotional commitment that makes this RITE so fascinating.