Very fouffy those air cards and no help at all today trying to align my writing assignments with my bills. Fled the scene instead of waiting one more minute to hear from editors and relatives to the gorgeous autumn awaiting. Back and recharged in time to hear Dizzy Gillespie and his All Stars on the radio and I was ready for theater week- Love’s Labour Lost, Rabbit Hole, The Long Christmas Ride Home, Chad Diety and Angels in America await.
spirit card of the elemental tarot
‘I am the utterance of my name’
The winged ascent suspended
by four corners of reason
senses grafted to spirit
consumes its own tail
triangles of fire earth air water
clamp the viper into place.
‘Jumala’ 9 of air
The red deer is slain
in the blue open nightfield
as four shama turn from
the sacrifice and
bow before the temples in the
crystal mountain ridges
hidden beyond the thunder is the
Masque of creativity
crowned with a utopian rainbow.
Nasty business that last bit. I must stick to my Cheney doesn’t exist fantasy. Easy to forget morally bankrupt crashing bores..
..on a day like today when it finally feels like fall in Philadelphia and trotting through Rittenhouse Square on my way to the Academy for PABallet’s Theme and Variations program with Matt Neenan’s premiere.
T & V is one of Balanchine’s homage’s to Russian classical, with a 20th century aesthetic. It highlights exacting geometry and viruosic solos. It is also packed with technical demands, all while the ensemble has to float on Tchaikovsky’s dramaturg. It can look brittle if unison work is too static or the romantic subtext ignorned.
PAB’s corp de ballet, the men and especially the women, danced with clarity and suppleness.
Ran into former dancer Phil Colluci looking great in Boss, he’s an intern at Penn now working specifically on new computer diagnostic tech for muscular-skeletal theraphies. He brings his special knowledge about extreme motion stress not only as a ballet dancer with killer attack but as a black belt in karate.
The new tricky Dicky Cheney- who just won’t go away he is so desparately clinging to power, guns, money, bad hair & religion- used his warmonger award speech to call President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan ‘dithering.’ The White House didn’t let this one pass, dispatching press secretary Robert Gibbs
“I think it’s a curious comment, given — I think it’s pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. . . . What Vice President Cheney calls “dithering,” President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public. I think we’ve all seen what happens when somebody doesn’t take that responsibility seriously.
It is also being reported that The Cheney-Bush administration didn’t even have a senior WH official dealing with the war in Afghanistan for years. Even Reb. Sen. Lamar Alexander found Cheney’s remarks so ludicrious that he threw this out “I want [Obama] to take the time to get it right.”
And then there is Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who worked for C-B, “I will tell you, I think that the strategy that the president put forward in late March is the first real strategy we have had for Afghanistan since the early 1980s.”
Theme dance concerts can often result in thematic bloat. BodyVox have no such worries with their Water Bodies, choreographers Ashley Roland and Jamey Hampton use a universal theme as a springboard rather than artistic overkill. The highlights in Friday night performance-
Esther Williams was not to be ignored and had the troupe in red velvet singlets in interlocking kalidescopes a nod to Busby Berkeley with an overhead (live) track shot for those geometric body blooms, but he would be screaming at some inprecision by the troops. But BodyVox is going for more than static dance tricks here- namely ideas and personalities. This group’s joy of movement just radiates off of the them.
Unexpected precision though in ensemble jetes in Serein, choreographed by company dancer Eric Skinner, with music by Bartok. Quickstepping couples in front of screens of rainy streets lead to charmingly light, quixotic duets. A fine solo by Heather Jackson, who has such lithe clarity in her body articulation.
Their Titanic dance drama SOS a lurching death march turns into a hynotic slo motion elegy and touching relationship tableau set to dreamlike music by Sibelius.
The groovy, loopy beach blanket hulabaloo of the Big Dip with music by Sex Mob has them shaking a real tail feather. Jamey’s adventures in a bathtub has him acting out his kid in a tub rituals and going down the drain in slo-mo.
Biking back from the Annenberg on Market St thinking about the Bartok, it started to pour down rain seemingly on cue.
To open their 46th year this week they dance Balanchine’s ’Theme and Variations’, Agnes de Mille’s ’Rodeo’ and between them premiere Matt Neenan’s ballet ‘At the Border’ scored to Hallelujah Junction by John Adams.
At a rehearsal this week Matt was throwing in a bourrée on two ballerinas, but otherwise just instructing the dancers about Adams’ breakneck tempo. His style has been completely embraced by PABs dancers and he has been part of the new choreographic vision of the company.
“Hallelujah Junction’ refers to a truck stop on the Nevada – California border he said “I was scared of it because it’s really complex, a lot is in there.”
“I was thinking I have to get better overall choreographically, I eventually felt like I was ready to try. It has that Adams punch, so its got to be danced that way to.”
That punch was in the air as the two rehearsal pianist kept going over Adams dense passages on two grands. “A lot of corps de ballet stuff. It’s not like this is dark, it just has some craziness. There’s 20 sections total and it’s only 16minutes…two lead couples, other couples and trios flying in and out.”
The costumes are cobalt blue and magenta cutaway tops and booty shorts that really show the dancers bodies. Neenan hot wires the dense keyboard runs of Adams and there are contrasts of angular and rounded phrases- delicate piques next to women sprinting en Pointe, thrilling jump sequences next to gorgeous bodyscapes- Zachary Hench and Riolama Lorenzo keep returning in a cyclonic duet and Jermel Johnson in razor sharp aerials- just to mention two scenes.
Matt at work with Principal Julie Diana and company member Ian Hussey.