STEPHEN PETRONIO COMPANY
Bud Suite/BLOOM/The Rite Part
Friday, February 16
Stephen Petronio really likes his développés. Not that this is a bad thing--his dancers can reel off perfect ones like they're like falling off a Balanchine-shaped log--but the choreography in general was much more ballet-focused than I was expecting. I spotted something that looked suspiciously like a brisé volé and a bunch of near-grand jetés. The opening duet of Bud Suite was gorgeous and so savvily, wittily exploitative of the unmined diamond deposit that is male-male partnering I was surprised Matthew Bourne wasn't somehow involved.
Watching any kind of live dance done to Rite of Spring is always nifty, but I liked the first half of the program best, content-wise as well as costume-wise. The white dress shirts in BLOOM were lovely on everyone, men and women both, even if the long sleeves had the unfortunate effect of making the port de bras all but invisible. And somehow, Subkoff made the deconstructed black dinner jacket/red hot pants combo work.
As well-integrated as the Rufus Wainwright songs were into each piece, I wonder whether it's generally a good idea to soundtrack choreography this articulate, this dramatically vocal, to pop songs or songs with lyrics. It creates too much of an opportunity for the lyrics to overpower the language of the dancers' bodies. Things get even trickier when you try to shoehorn in, as Wainwright does in BLOOM, the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. He succeeds, I think, but it all feels rather busy and redundant, since the creative movement broadcasts so much poetry already. How appropriate that Dickinson's "Hope Is The Thing With Feathers" should show up here; it's not hope that "sings the tune without the words," but dance.
[Cheers to whoever decided to shoot the entire company mid-pogo for the Bud Suite etc. promo package. And to MAKING SWEET POTATOES.]