PURO DESEO, PNB AT THE GUGGENHEIM, BALANCHINE LEOTARDS AND ROBBINS & ASTAIRE

Photo of Luciana Achugar’s Puro Deseo, from NYTimes, taken by Chad Batka.

You guys, I am really sorry but there are several things I’ve seen lately that I don’t have time to write about. So, I’m linking to other writers’ reviews. The first is Luciana Achugar’s exploration of the occult, Puro Deseo, which premiered recently at the Kitchen. I generally agree with NYTimes’ Gia Kourlas that Achugar needs to go a bit deeper with this piece, but this is a strong start, and parts of the performance I found very compelling, such as when, toward the beginning, Achugar is wearing a large black cape and moving back and forth in a diagonal pattern across the stage, and every time she backs up, toward a light projector, she casts an ominous shadow that eventually eats up the entire theater. Very cool lighting effect that achieved the result she was aiming for. At points her partner, Michael Mahalchick, would contort his body in ways that were both creepy and unsettling but also ultimately human. At times her movement would mirror his, and at times she’d react off of him, sometimes writhing on the ground seemingly in erotic pleasure. This is what I thought needed to be developed a little further – the connection between eroticism and the occult, but regardless, ever since Tere O’Connor’s Nothing Festival a couple of years ago, Achugar has become one of my favorite experimental artists and I always love seeing her new work.

Second, is Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Works & Process event at the Guggenheim over the weekend. I loved seeing James Moore and Carla Korbes again, and especially Seth Orza. Moore’s performance of a beginning excerpt of Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, and Korbes and  Orza dancing an excerpt from Balanchine’s Apollo were, to me the highlights of the evening. But here is Oberon with far more detail on the evening than I can provide right now.

Also, last week I saw two NYCB programs – one comprised of some of Balanchine’s most famous leotard ballets (Symphony in Three Movements is always a favorite of mine, especially in contrast with Concerto Barocco), and an evening of Robbins during which I was blown away, once again, by Gonzalo Garcia as the poetic figure in his Opus 19 / The Dreamer. And, call me a goof (because everyone else seems to hate it), but I always love to see Robbins’ I’m Old Fashioned, with the dancers performing a balletic interpretation of Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth as a movie excerpt of the latter two dancing plays on a screen erected at the back of the stage.  Anyway, here is Macaulay on the Balanchine program and Roslyn Sulcas on the Robbins.

Review coming soon of Wayne McGregor’s new Outlier, although I said some of what I have to say already on Twitter. I’m actually really enjoying tweeting about performances. I find Twitter a useful device for paring down sentences to the essentials. Of particular use to verbose people like me anyway :)

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