Monday, November 6, 2006


I saw BalletNY on campus last Thursday night, which was the first ballet I've seen since the Nutcracker in elementary school. There was no set, and the performance was a collection of small dances, not one big story. BalletNY is a company that travels around the whole state, instead of just NYC. Check out if you're curious.

As for the performances, they started out with the Syracuse-appropriate "Orange." The six dancers all wore orange outfits and the stage lights threw orange (and no other colors) onto them. I don't know if this is a regular performance or Syracuse-specific, but it was a nice little hometown touch regardless. The dancing included a lot of modern elements, which were awkward sometimes (like shimmying--I don't really know what that was about), but overall it was still pretty good. (One other thing--the orange outfits with the orange lights made the men's costumes blend into their skin, and they looked kind of naked. It was weird. If anyone has seen the movie "Dogma," think of the scene where Alan Rickman pulls down his pants for Linda Fiorentino.)

The second dance was "Othello," based on Shakespeare's play. Desdemona, Iago, and Othello were the only characters in this performance, and it only lasted about ten minutes. I thought it was okay, but not up to par with the play itself. Jon thought the dancers really conveyed the emotions, but I disagreed. I don't know if it was the dancers or the choreography, but I didn't see any passion between Desdemona and Othello. They did do a really good job of incorporating her scarf into the performance, though. It was wrapped loosely enough so that it would fall off easily (and then Iago stole it, blah, blah... look it up if you're not familiar with the play), and when it was falling off of her, I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be falling off or not--it looked genuinely accidental. Also, I was seriously impressed with stength of the dancer playing Iago. Othello was much taller and thicker him, but Iago picked Othello up by his hips at one point and was tip-toeing around with him in the air.

My favorite dance was the third, "Two's Company." It seemed the most "classical" of the three. It was two men and a woman, and the woman was obviously trying to choose between them. The story is pretty unoriginal, but the dancing was really beautiful. There were lots of swishes and exaggerated slow movements and their bodies were contorted into crazy angles a lot of the time. So pretty... And the lighting was absolutely phenomenal. The whole stage was really dark, but there was a sliver of white light that hit the dancers most of the time. And if they were standing in the right spot on the stage, massive shadows of theirs would hit the side wall of the auditorium, close to the ceiling. It really set the mood.

The last piece was called "Once before, Twice after." It incorporated a lot more modern elements. The four dancers used chairs for a good portion of it, which was weird. It sort of made me think of a strip club. The lighting was once again amazing, though. There were four circles on the stage, which formed a four-leaf clover shape, and then there was varying color and position changes of other lights. The music was also modern, with some techno influences, but it was (thankfully) not like music you'd hear in a club. I liked it a lot, actually.

Overall, I really enjoyed the whole night. And, really, how can you go wrong with tickets costing $2.50??

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