From Bill's Desk
Philadelphia’s BalletX is no longer a well-kept secret. These days, it’s a regular presence at the Joyce Theater in New York. BalletX won the hearts of McCarter’s dance audience in June 2017 as part of The Princeton Festival, where it sold-out the Berlind Theatre. These are dancers who dance in the moment—three-dimensional dancing that you feel as you watch.
In selecting a program for their return to the Berlind this October, BalletX’s Artistic Director, Christine Cox, and I selected works which demonstrate the full range of the company’s eclectic approach to choreographers, music, style, and the individual talent of its dancers. In whatever they do, Alastair Macaulay, the principal dance critic of The New York Times, said it best: “The dancers of BalletX seize the moment, prove wonderfully engaged and textured—constantly alive with dynamic contrasts.” I could not agree more.
Here are some of the pieces that you’ll see BalletX perform on October 17 and 18.
Requiem (Andrew McNichol) is set to portions of Mozart’s Requiem. Very few artists have the skill to handle Mozart in dance, but McNichol certainly does. This is the best treatment of the composer’s music I have ever seen outside of Balanchine. Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times said, “It abounds on dramatic situations without telling stories; it builds sculptural groupings, and sets speed beside stillness. McNichol does much to show the music’s complexity.”
Increasing (Matthew Neenan) A co-founder of BalletX, Neenan is one of its long-time mainstage choreographers. Increasing is set to the first movement of Schubert’s Quintet for Strings, and it is a sheer delight. Here is Alastair Macaulay again: “It is wonderfully multilayered dance in terms of changing geometries, arithmetics, and groups.” I’ve seen many of Neenan’s dances, and this one has his usual imaginative and musical touch—I think he’s even topped himself!
The Bogeyman (Trey McIntrye) is set to a selection of your favorite 1970’s musical numbers by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gilbert O’Sullivan, and others. As he often does, McIntrye loves to transpose the social and the antisocial, loneliness, and conviviality—and in this work he does so to the hilt. If you catch yourself singing along, perfectly OK—but no dancing in the aisles (although you will be tempted!).