Dominic Walsh Dance Theater

November 13, 2009 by Paul  
Filed under Recent Articles

The Woman and Her Husband, at various points, each open a red envelope that contains an emotional trigger — whether it’s a Dear John letter or evidence of betrayal is up to your imagination. But I loved the mountain of shredded paper at the end — evidence that this couple has had a long history of tearing each other apart.

Firebird1.bmp

Paris Opera Ballet star Marie Agnes Gillot and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater’s Domenico Luciano, well-paired, eat up the stage as they take turns playing bully and victim. When Gillot curls forward, vulnerable, you ache with her. When she takes a dominatrix pose on a table, the atmosphere crackles. And when she does anything with those amazingly expressive, long feet of hers, you just want to gasp.

Firebird2.bmpLoved the chandelier.

Frederique de Montblanc’s videos (including the panty-cutting scene, which is one of several shadow plays), scenery and costumes evoke a cool psychological emptiness. The “firebird” chandelier is a great touch; light banks that drop from above, especially toward the end when they’re embellished with knives, add drama but seem to overstate the obvious.

Otherwise, Robert Eubanks’ lighting designs were right-on for the whole show — and especially fine for Walsh’s sensuous new take on Afternoon of a Faun. This slightly more faithful adaptation of another Ballets Russes favorite succeeds on every level. It references iconic poses you’ll recognize from famous images of Vaslav Nijinsky but also infuses sexy neoclassical curves into the movement. I loved the giraffe-gazelle-like elegance of the women’s long steps en pointe. The choreography contains several excellent duets that aptly convey the Faun’s sexual curiosity.

Ty Parmenter, as the Faun, reminded me of a young, nimble Walsh. (Actually, Walsh is still pretty nimble; the stage livens up when he’s on it.) The company’s current crop of dancers are gorgeous, including Randolph Ward, Rachel Meyer, Felicia McBride, Lauren Bettencourt and Marissa Leigh Gomer.

McBride and Luciano opened the program vividly with Walsh’s 2006 Le Spectre de la Rose, also a relatively straightforward adaptation.

DyingSwan.bmpRachel Meyer in The Dying Swan.

Meyer brought screen siren glamour to Walsh’s The Dying Swan. The choreography for this piece was so minimal I kept waiting for the dance to start. But overall, the company lives up to its “Dance Theater” name with this program — in a good way.

Spectre.bmpThe dancing was superb all night; here, Luciano leaps in Spectre.

1901-2009: The Great Collaborators of the Ballets Russes continues through Saturday (Oct. 17). Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall. Tickets are available atwww.dwdt.org.

molly.glentzer@chron.com

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