Monday, April 24, 2017

Ballet Across America

This past weekend I went to see Ballet Across America at the Kennedy Center. I was able to get a My Tix deal on the tickets, so that was great!

The show started off with a video, which I didn't know was going to be included. The video is listed in the program book as if it's one of the segments of the show, so I was very confused! The video is nice, but I'm not sure why the Kennedy Center or any of its programs needs a promotional video. I don't need a music video to tell me that watching the ballet at the Kennedy Center is a nice experience. Plus, playing the video to this particular audience is like preaching to the choir; we're already in our seats at the Kennedy Center to watch a ballet; you don't need to convince us!

Here's the video:

Then we actually got to the real dancing. The L.A. Dance Project performed Hearts & Arrows. I liked the music, and the attitude of the dancers reminded me of the Dauntless in the Divergent series. Unfortunately the program book only went into detail about the dancers rather than the pieces, so I didn't know what this piece was trying to say. There was an unexplained tension between some of the dancers, and the choreography was a bit repetitive, but that's all I got.

Next was a pas de deux from Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit. I couldn't find a video of this particular piece (which is unfortunate, because it's a beautiful, sensual piece, performed by the Miami City Ballet's Patricia Delgado and Jovani Furlan). But the video below is a little informational clip about the ballet. I must say I'm quite annoyed that Peck describes the piece as a  "musically-driven ballet." No shit, Sherlock. That's what ballet is...

My favorite part of Fool's Paradise. Image found here.
Then the Joffrey Ballet performed Christopher Wheeldon's Fool's Paradise. Again, because the program book didn't described the pieces, I just had to guess what this segment was telling me. All of the dancers were in nude costumes, which gave the illusion that they were naked, and the dancing was very sensual/sexual. I think the idea of Fool's Paradise is one big orgy, where couples swap and no one gets hurt or upset and everyone is happy with the situation (hence the name "fool's paradise."). I couldn't find a video of the dance, but below is a preview:

 I really liked the piece, and while doing research for my blog, I saw that Wheeldon also did the choreography for This Bitter Earth, which I LOVE!

And he choreographed After the Rain, which I've seen as well. You can easily see the main similarity between all these pieces: the connection between the dancers is so tangible and real.

Anyway, moving back to the actual performance I saw...

The last piece was The Gettin' by Kyle Abraham, the artistic director of Kyle Abraham/ (A.I.M.). This one's message was loud and clear, showing the parallels between racial segregation in America and the apartheid in South Africa. There was a separate jazz band performing, and Charenée Wade has an amazing voice; I think the song they played was called "Freedom." The other parts of the show just had a black backdrop, but this one had a background that looked like splatter art, but if you looked more closely, the blobs were silhouettes of Ku Klux Klan members. Images of "Whites Only" signs were shown on the backdrop; a video of a black person being arrested played on the screen as Ms. Wade mimicked the cries and shouts of the person. This performance had a great mix of music, dance, and visual art. I also liked how athletic the movements were; both the men and women were strong dancers!

I should admit that I did fall asleep during parts of the show, but it's not because I didn't like it! What I saw I really did enjoy, and I recommend it!

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