"Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." Voltaire
Ballet des Amériques in an Evening of Dance in Port Chester
You had to be there.
The evening was not magical or mystical or mythical.
It was palpable, physical, vital.
The first two pieces, Legba and Evocations, danced by Irene Przywara, Jenna Simon and Garrett McCann hinted at what was to come. The dancers were invested, committed. These modern pieces by Madame Carole Alexis are becoming staples of the repertory yet they never cease to intrigue and provoke an audience. They are mysterious, exploring ritual and animal nature, human expression and its origin.
Then Isodale Alexis took the floor for the Kitri Variation from Don Quixote and there were sparks. Her performance, from the flash of her eyes to the snap of each step, was sharp. She was precise, vivid. She owned this creature and this dance and she seemed to glory in it.
Alex and Louise were charming and bright in their variations from Don Quixote and Le Corsaire.
After a pause came Boléro.
You had to be there.
Once again, Isodale rose slowly from the floor to Ravel's haunting strain and weaved her way forward. Her solo evokes vulnerability and discovery. Then came the other dancers like powerful forces bringing the mechanism of a brutal world to the fore.
From the outset there was a cohesiveness to this performance that far surpassed the debut of the work at the last Evening of Dance.
And you could feel the audience breathing with the dancers, caught up in the drama, dazzled and mesmerized.
The piece is already a tour de force and this time the execution, even in so limited a space as the studio, was inspired, gripping. To me, this was a high point for BdA, the most fully realized performance that I have witnessed by the company in the last five years. I have never seen every dancer so completely possessed by the dance. I have rarely seen any company of dancers anywhere so strong in their parts and as a unit. It was as if every dancer were peaking at the same time and the audience felt it.
And Madame Alexis's choreography – still a work in progress – was incredibly powerful, making her promise of more to come offered at the end of the evening, too intriguing.
You had to be there. Really.
The shouts of joy at the accomplishment of the choreographer and her company left no doubt when Boléro concluded.
And then came Lentil Soup.
Once again, there was the wonder of Madame's tinkering. You think you know a piece you have seen more than a half-dozen times over the last couple of years. And surely there are points of reference. Alex's prayer, Louise riding on Garrett's back, the elephants, the stirring of the pot. But then there is this new section, the guitar solo behind Isodale. And what is Jenna doing there? Is that new or have you missed it before?
This dance is so full of life and so much a signature piece of the company now.
But is it finished?
You'll have to be there.
By: Frank De Ligio, February 26, 2017