Thursday November 29, 2012 - Music of Bach and Golijov filled the studio space at Manhattan Movement and Arts this evening as Lydia Johnson Dance offered a sampling from their current and upcoming repertoire in an open-house setting. Above: Jessica Sand Blonde, Laura DiOrio and Lisa Iannacito McBride in CROSSINGS BY RIVER, photo by Brian Krontz.
There are three basic elements that combine to make for a satisfying evening of dance: music, movement, and dancers to make it come alive. Lydia Johnson's works draw these three strands together with stylish success; her works appeal to both lovers of classical ballet and aficianados of contemporary dance. Beyond that are the emotional qualities which resonate differently for each viewer.
The opening work, CROSSINGS BY RIVER, is an ensemble work for five women. Passages of urgency and repose alternate seamlessly, swept along by the music of Osvaldo Golijov. The women's rituals seem steeped in the primative mysteries of motherhood and sisterly consolation, overlaid with subtle elements of Catholicism and its invasion of the New World. The dancers (above) are Katie Martin, Laura DiOrio, Sarah Pon, Lisa Iannacito McBride and Jessica Sand Blonde.
Above: Jessica Sand Blonde in CROSSINGS BY RIVER.
Excerpts from CHANGE OF HEART commenced with a duet for Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York (above). In this Bach ballet, exuberance and tenderness are expressed naturally, using the Master's music as a blueprint.
Duets (Blake, with Chris Bloom above) ebb and flow thru the structured ensemble, and pensive solos give way to celebratory virtuosity - all of it wrapped up in Bach.
In a new Golijov work-in-progress, Lydia draws upon the composer's kaleidoscopic range of musical dialects which can zoom from the ethereal to earthy in the twinkling of an eye. Above: Katie Martin, Laura Di Orio.
Above: the women: Sarah, Kerry, Laura and Kaite...
In a jagged, driven motif, the dancers (Sarah Pon, above) move along a diagonal like tormented souls. Golijov loves to play with speed and a liltingly sensuous tango passage may suddenly accelerate into a cacophonous whirlwind.
Above: Eric Williams wafts Sarah Pon overhead...
A central duet for Kerry Shea and Eric Williams (above) marks the emotional core of the ballet...
...while a second couple (Chris Bloom and Laura DiOrio, above) develop a fleeting intensity. Chris had earlier propelled himself thru a dynamic solo.
I've been watching this new Golijov develop at the studio, and look forward to seeing how Lydia handles some of the music still to be set.
This season Lydia has a particularly fine trio of male dancers: Chris Bloom (above)...
...and Blake Hennessy-York.
All photographs by Brian Krontz. Click on each image to enlarge.