It is all about the couples this weekend and that was certainly onstage at the Merriam Theater tonight for PABallet’s modern program. Of course the draw is Frank, the ultimate crooner who underscores Twyla Tharp’s ‘Nine Sinatra Songs’. Even though it’s probably my least favorite Tharp work. Perhaps condescending to ballroom? or maybe Frank, can’t quite put a bent finger on it. Anyway, it’s hard not to fall in love with the mirror ballroom spinning and Frank singing, again.
And certainly easy to fall in love with Martha Chamberlain and real life husband Jonathan Stiles. They’re witty, sousy (Martha hilariously deadpan climbing over his back) and lyrical dancing ‘One for my baby’. Chamberlain, who is dancing beautifully in any style lately really knew how to work her mod 60s v-line black de la Renta cocktail dress.
The program started with Peter Martins’ ‘Fearful Symmetries’ and this company was on fire matching the dervish drive of John Adams score. The corps de ballet crisp, the four lead couples each conjuring distinct chemistry. In the central duet, Jermel Johnson and Chamberlain, commanding the air and the floor, with thrilling technical clarity at mach speed.
The premiere of ‘Requiem for a Rose’ by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, scored to Franz Schuber’s very romantic ‘Adagio from the Quintet in C Major’ with the 12 dancers (men too) in V-Day red skirts that flared out wildly. Ochoa’s dancer clusters and processionals looking all the more dramatic with everyone nude to the waist. The central couple, Riolama Lorenzo and Sergio Torrado, smoldering with artistry.