AUDIENCE REVIEW: Midsummer Nights Musings
A new company, CityDanceNY, directed by Michael Buoni, presented a program of short dances at the Theater of St. Jeans entitled “ Midsummer Musings”. It was a pleasant balance of classical divertissements and 4 of his own works, 2 of which were reimaginings of 20th century classics.
“Afternoon of a Faun” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, in Buoni’s interpretations, featured many interesting references to not only earlier versions of each but also to various choreographic styles of the first half of the 20th century. His choreography for “Afternoon of a Faun” employed considerably more technical elements than the original minimalist approach but nonetheless matched the atmosphere which made the original such a sensation. Elias Re brought a feral quality to the title role.”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was basically a condensed version of the already condensed Ashton interpretation. but it did include some elements left out of Ashton’s. It was effective in its narrative approach and nicely arranged.
Victoria Aletta stood out as Titania,demonstrating lovely lines and a balance of grace and sparkle.Possibly because of the challenges involved in telling the story in such a short time, the roles of Oberon and Puck were less developed than in other versions. Nonetheless, it was delightful from beginning to end.
His “Baroque and Blue”, to music of Claude Bolling, was entertaining in a sort of Balanchinean jazzy style. The liveliness of the choreography gave an interesting contrast to the lounge feel of the design. Three duets to piano music by Cenovia Cummins (performed live) were the most contemporary works on the program and very touching.The first, danced by Tanya Trombly and Jose Rojas, was melancholy and suggested a relationship that might have happened but didn’t quite.The second (Mari Takeyama, Paolo Guttierez) was a free-spirited conversation which led to moments of passion. The third ( Giulia Cirulli, Jeason Mejia) brought to mind a couple with a wealth of shared experience.
The program also featured 4 classical divertissements. All were adroitly performed, no easy feat considering how often we have seen them done by the world’s greatest dancers. This is most certainly a company to keep an eye on.