MomentsThe first dance of the evening was Moments, a series of vignettes choreographed by BSJ's Artistic Director, Dennis Nahat, to the music of Mendelssohn. I didn't much care for it. Part of it is simply that I like having a storyline to follow, so my mind tends to wander off during pure-dance shows. I like pretty costumes and sets, and this is a stripped-down, bare-bones piece. But mostly there was this definitely "been-there-done-that" feeling to the performance, like I'd seen all these elements in other places, and they'd been used more effectively in other settings. I mean, technically the dancing was fine. The problem was definitely with the choreography, maybe the way it was matched (or not matched?) to the music. Just so...boring, really.
Boring is also Salut D'Amour's problem, but for a different reason. The second program of the evening uses music from a relatively unknown composer, Sir Edward Elgar, and sets the ballet before WWI. Again, no real story, it's just a celebration of the innocent, idyllic love and friendship found in a pre-war world. Other than some vaguely period-like clothing, there's nothing to indicate that war looms over the horizon. Dad was fast asleep for this one, and I almost joined him. I just kept spacing out and trying to remember if I had enough whites to do a load of laundry the next day.
Square DanceSquare Dance, choreographed by the late great Balanchine, was the strongest program by far. I almost missed it, since I had been so bored by the first two that I nearly left. But I decided to stick around, since it sounded interesting, and it was really the most creative of the three programs. It took the very classical music by Antonio Vivaldi and paired it with...square dancing, the quintessential American folk dance. It was an interesting combination. While the ballet dancers retained the grace and poise of their style, the formations and movements across the stage mimicked square dancing, and a 'caller' hollered out the figures they followed. The guys' faux blue jeans and cowboy boots were pretty funny-looking, but everyone was smiling and looked like they were having fun (unlike the 'serious' themes from the first two programs.)