Neville Dance Theatre in "53 Movements"
Neville Dance Theatre
Having the Neville Dance Theatre company take on Terry Rilley's "In C" must have been akin to the first time one tries a New York Times crossword puzzle. Artist Director Brenda Neville deftly met her own challenge to be the first choreographer to put Rilley's rigid piano tempoed musical score to human form and anchored her answers to the puzzle with her dancer's talent in contemporary ballet.
Neville introduced 53 Movements at DIxon Place with such grace and candor that I was at the edge of my seat through the whole performance, curious at how such a simple, mathematical structure would allow for creativity and innovation. Standing before the audience prior to the performance, Neville disclosed that the piece was her first in a 13 year company history where her dancers created many of the phrases.There was also room for guided improvisation, theoretically making each performance a unique work. I expected this approach would result in too many unconnected lyrical movements.
Instead, the company delivered a piece that masterfully matched the athleticism and movements of the dancers to the musical composition. The poise, balance, jumps and turns of all the dancers were decisive and emblematic of a well rehearsed production. The improvisation was unapparent as the phrases were beautifully intertwined. Exiting the 53rd phrase, the audience is left with an emotional focus on a single dancer (Michelle Siegel) who left nothing behind on the stage. The combination of the challenging choreography, coupled with the performance of the dancers left me with that uplifting feeling, felt when a master work is witnessed and a complex puzzle is completed.
Author: Greg Miller