AUDIENCE REVIEW: Stephen Petronio Company
Stephen Petronio Company
Stephen Petronio Company
Show / Event Name
"I Drink the Air Before Me"
Venue / Location
Receptionist/Freelance Dance Admin
Last time you moved your body:
Last Tuesday in rehearsal
Have you ever seen this company/ before?
Tell us a bit about your history with this group/performer?
Once at Summerstage in Central Park with an excerpt of the Rufus Wainwright piece. I've watched a number of works on Youtube or in Dance History. I also have worked with two choreographers who were former Petronio dancers, so I feel I have a solid grasp on the style.
Why did you go to the show? What did you expect to see?
I went with my friend who wanted to see a performance at the Joyce to take advantage of their student rate, but wasn't sure what would be good. I recommended Petronio (it was the most interesting to me out of the other options).
On the day of the performance I had had a busy day, and during the process of catching up with myself and chatting with my friend I didn't have time for expectations about the piece.
What was your favorite moment(s)? What inspired you?
The WHOLE thing was inspiring. All of the various elements -the music, the costumes, the singing, the pre-show, the CHOREOGRAPHY- were so polished and perfectly matched.
I especially loved the score by Nico Mulhy, and the live performance of the music and the presence of the musicians onstage was completely necessary.
The pre-show with stage manager Lynda Erbs walking around onstage, dancers warming up, and Stephen in his infamous captains costume (by Cindy Sherman!) made the performance less "precious" which was exactly what it needed.
Amanda Wells' opening solo, with her unbelievable calm concentration, was kinesthetically delicious.
Slippery, characteristic partnering was just... wow. Wow all around.
Describe as plainly and as specifically as you can what you actually saw. We are going for description without judgement.
There is no need for complete sentences, phrases and word lists are fine. You can describe these elements or anything you can think of: the artists, the kinds of movement, the qualities of the movement, the use of the stage/space, the musicality/timing...
Pre-show is described above. The musicians are onstage on raised platforms. The piece opens with an amazing solo by Amanda Wells, costumed in a cape and bold striped leggings, while other dancers in old fashioned squall jackets whirl around her. There were so many impressions of the ocean and rain throughout. In the second section costumes are changed to old fashioned sleeping drawers and the dancing is full of playful partnering. I especially loved Tara Lorenzen in this... she looked like she was having a great time onstage. Next we get into what I thought of as the rainstorm part of the dance... quick, angular, punchy movement in flocking patterns that looked like rain drops. The pace accelerates and thunder and lightening come into the score and the choreography. A youth choir enters the stage and to their beautiful voices the choreography becomes grand and almost calmer, despite the fact that it's just as full bodied.
*Sigh* It was so good.
Do any images, colors or feelings pop into your head when you think about this show?
Rain! Ocean squalls. Lightning and Thunder. Love of the sea. I remembered the feeling I had when I was young watching Fantasia for the first time... movement fulfilling the score and vica versa.
Also, I felt kinesthetic lust for the spine flexibility of the dancers. :-)
Describe any or all of these elements: music, lighting, the venue. - How did they contribute (or not) to your enjoyment of this performance?
I feel like I've covered this already. I don't feel like anything could have changed in this piece to make it better. All the pieces fit perfectly (have I mentioned that I loved the musicians being onstage?) Some lighting choices that weren't as inspired as the rest of the piece, but nothing that detracted.
Would you like to see this performance / company again? Would you recommend it to a friend?
Why or why not?
Absolutely. You should see this show. Best of 2009.
What would you like to have seen more of? Less of?
The piece was an hour and fifteen minutes long without an intermission. It could have gone on for another hour more without me losing interest.
If you could, what would you ask the choreographer / dancers?
The pre-show was a big departure for Petronio. What made him choose to do it? How does he feel it affected the experience of watching the following piece?