“Signature Duets: Dances of Daring and Devotion” was the name of the mixed bill presented by the American Repertory Ballet at the Hamilton Stage on Friday, March 21. There were five pieces presented this evening. “Fantasy Baroque” by Mary Barton to music by J. S. Bach opened the program.
The dancers were costumed in eighteenth-century silks and powdered perukes, rather like a scene by Fragonard of gallants and their maidens come to life. Choreographically, one was reminded of Paul Taylor. One could be forgiven seeing the dancers in black leotards dancing the piece instead of the bright, but cumbersome, costumes.
“Dreams Interrupted,” choreographed by Trinette Singleton, was next on the program. A woman appeared to be torn between two men: one who appeared to be a rough, even abusive lover, and the other, a kind, gentle man with whom she felt safe, who chased the abusive man away. The woman then went to bed, and the “dreams” alluded to replayed what had come before. Both men danced, tugging at her to possess her. She seemed to go willingly, sometimes with each, but clearly appeared to enjoy the “good” man, while looking distressed whenever the “bad’ man was her partner. The dance concluded with the woman, seemingly awake and confused, staring off, searching for someone. A troubling, psychological piece danced by Alice Cao, Cameron Auble-Branigan, and Jacopo Janelli.
After the ten-minute intermission, “Afternoon of a Faun (“L’Apres Midi d’un Faun”) was intriguingly reimagined by choreographer Kirk Peterson. Unlike the ballet made famous by Nijinsky, we saw five fauns. The “Alpha Faun,” of the five was superbly danced by Mattia Pallozzi. It was he who sensuously and sinuously wrapped himself around the nostrils, thighs, and earlobes of “The Nymph,” deliquescently danced by Karen Leslie Moscato. The other four fauns were vehemently danced by the feral Cameron Auble-Branigan, Alexander Dutko, Jacopo Janelli, and Edward Urwin. The sexy horns and furry leggings with cloven hooves, along with intense acting, mesmerized. Costumes were also created by Mr. Peterson. Mr. Peterson’s choreographic revision of this famous ballet is a totally satisfying, exciting, and erotically-charged dance we hope to be seeing again soon.
“Moonlight Sonata pas de deux,” an excerpt from “Tears of the Moon,” choreographed by Kirk Peterson followed. An startling “coup de theatre” opened the work, followed by a skilled, highly engaging duet of a man and a woman, beautifully danced by Samantha Gullace and Edward Urwin.
Concluding the program was “Confetti,” by the late Gerald Arpino. Choreographed in 1970, this is a performance presented under the auspices of the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation. It was a beautiful, joyous dance featuring three couples with music from Rossini’s “Semiramide Overture.” It was a night to be remembered, with a large and enthusiastic audience applauding the performers warmly.
Future appearances of the American Repertory Ballet at Hamilton Stage: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” October 17; and an evening of mixed repertory on April 24. For more information, visit www.arballet.org.
Hamilton Stage sits incongruously silver – skinned and sleek among row houses in a residential neighborhood, and has been open to the public for two years, it is indeed, a jewel.