|The February 15, 2013 ArtPlace Open House at the
Strand was well attended with visitors also enjoying food from Singh's
Roti Shop food cart. Encouraging spontaneous interaction were
signs at many display tables asking questions about the future of the
arts in Uphams Corner. What do you think? Text your answer to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call in your answer to 888.821.7563
- What would you do if you could program this space?
- What arts, culture and business opportunities would you like to see in Uphams Corner?
- What else would you like to see Boston Ballet do at the Strand or in Uphams Corner?
The open house also highlighted three Uphams Corner fashion
organizations: All Seasons Bridle, Only One Design and the Bird
Street Youth fashion program.
Just before 7:00pm, the theater opened and the good-natured
visitors, who had been waiting patiently, filled the first floor and
first balcony seating areas.
Boston Ballet Setting the Context
The Boston Ballet's performance opened with a focus on context
and setting audience expectations. Just who is the Boston Ballet and
what do they do (besides dance)? The lights dimmed. A video set
to classical music drew the audience aesthetically into a "dance"
mindset with a medley of Boston Ballet performances including dance by
young students from their Studio School.
Following the video, Barry Hughson, Executive Director, and
Zakiya Thomas, Education and Community Initiatives Director, welcomed
everyone and described the Ballet's community involvement including the
extended learning time program, "Boys in Motion" (more about this
The evening's program consisted of seven dance vignettes
demonstrating Boston Ballet's extensive repertoire from traditional
ballet to modern dance.
Lost by Last
The excerpt from "Lost by Last" exhibited powerful and dynamic
dance. The music, "Overture from North by Northwest," by Bernard
Herrmann harkens to the sounds of Stravinsky's "RIte of Spring" with
short passages that quickly change instrumentation. The effect,
mechanical, energetic and sounding much like a calliope, affords short
bursts of musicality against which individual dancers, pairs and the
entire group move, also somewhat mechanically. The costuming is
classical ballet and while the music is distinctly twentieth century,
the overall effect is classical ballet in modern form.
Paint it Black
"Paint it Black," an excerpt from Rooster, was accompanied by The
Rolling Stones singing one of their classics: "Paint it Black." One
male and three female dancers were dressed in the symbols of "red and
black." The male dancer wore a red shirt and black pants while
the female dancers wore very short "black dresses" accented by a long
red scarf. The dance was modern, saucy and sexy and perfectly
matched the energy of the Stones' music. Entertaining and
engaging, "Paint it Black" even drew laughter from the audience.
|"Paint it Black" - Excerpts from opening and closing sections:
I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
|(more intense choreography)
I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black
Chairs in Motion
In its fourth year, Boston Ballet's "Boys in Motion" community
program at the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School is an extended learning
time program explicitly for middle school boys. "The program
encourages students to use dance as a creative means of expression and
promotes global citizenship both inside and outside the studio. "Boys
in Motion" is part of the Department of Education and Community
Initiatives Taking Steps Program at the Boston Ballet." [excerpted
from the program]
Chairs in Motion, a word play on the group's name, opened in
silhouette - a group of male dancers with chairs and barstools as
props. While simple in form and expression, the chairs offered the
dancers a vehicle for creating motion as they exchanged seats,
relocated the direction of the chairs, turned them and more. The
music by Evelyn Lenny, written for piano and a variety of drums,
provided a strong foundation for the intensity of the dance. The
migration of drumming styles afforded a similar path for the
choreography. The African drums were both wonderful to hear and
to "watch"in the dance on stage.
Considering this the work of young school-age youth, the
performance was exceptional. The dancers demonstrated amazing
agility with back flips and one armed cartwheels. In addition,
the chairs acted as small platforms for difficult handstands,
demonstrating how much amazing progress the youth had made with
balance. A glittering gem in the choreography occurred when the
dancers raised their seats above their heads while strong golden light
bounced off the gleaming metal giving the effect of royal crowns.
"Niris" opened with two dancers on stage, separated distantly,
one male, one female, spotlights giving them form against a deep blue
background. Energetic dancing set our expectations for
more. Suddenly quiet, the music suggested the sound of a beating
heart - strong and emotional - while the lighting on stage
deepened. Was this a dance about falling in love - a transformation
from courtship into deep love? The choreographic response
was to slow and become more erotic. While the couple consummated
in an endless spin, the lights dimmed to black and the dancers
Blue Bird Pas De Deux
"Blue Bird pas de Deux" from Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty
was classic ballet at its best, in classic dress - two dancers, one
male, one female. Providing an opportunity for solo performances,
the dance concluded with a satisfying duet, giving the audience a
quality taste of classic ballet.
Receiving the most applause was "Gopak," choreography set to
traditional Ukrainian folk music. Well-known to most audiences,
the high-spirited music awakens the expectation for competitive,
gymnastic dance, and the Boston Ballet did not disappoint.
The male dancers, as the village males in competition for the
heart of the young maiden, were expected to outperform each
other. Which dancer will she choose? Kicks, high jumps,
splits, high splits and more. The Dorchester audience was moved to
amazement, as if they had been transported to that quaint village in
the Ukraine. To each awe-inspiring feat, the onlookers offered the dancers
more clapping and more shouts of praise.
Plan to B
The final dance, "Plan to B", opened to a dimly lit stage with
one female and three male dancers in silhouette. A violin, in its role
as the expression of the human voice, provided the dominant sound -
singing moody and complex phrasesl. Unique to this dance was the
moment when the music stopped yet the dancers continued in
silence. You could have heard a pin drop.
The one-hour eclectic, vibrant, entertaining and interesting
dance program was well received. Thanks to the Boston Ballet for
sharing their professional and awe-inspiring talents with Uphams Corner
at the Strand Theatre.
|Posted: February 15, 2013 Nancy J Conrad
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