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  •  REVIEW: RIOULT

    Anastasia Soroczynski, Robert Robinson, Michael Spencer Phillips and Jane Sato in City in Rioult
    Photo by Richard Termine
    Anastasia Soroczynski, Robert Robinson, Michael Spencer Phillips and Jane Sato in City

    Feels Like Seen Spirit

    Rioult presents some old and some new at the Joyce

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    Rioult is an apparently likable company that never seems to break through to exciting. Whether this is due to musical choices or choreographic non sequiturs, it is consistently frustrating. In program A at the Joyce, only the final piece Bolero managed to grab and hold the audience from start to finish and generate real enthusiasm.

      
    RIOULT
    Choreography by: Pascal Rioult.
    Dancers: Brian Flynn, Charis Haines, Patrick Leahy, Michael Spencer Phillips, Robert Robinson, Jane Sato, Anastasia Soroczynski, Marianna Tsartolia.
    Costumes by: Russ Vogler, Karen Young.
    Lighting design by: David Finley.
    Projection design: Brian Clifford Beasley.
     SCHEDULE
    Joyce Theater
    January 19-24, 2010

    Harvest best shows this mix of good and oddly bland. Cute cowboys and cowgirls make rustic tableaux that shift each time the lights go low, like paintings shown in a slideshow. They begin dancing in friendly groups of four, boys with boys and girls with girls, bonding in their respective ways. It is sweet and well danced and vaguely like a Copland musical without the energy and brio. As in most of the evening, there are some really strong moments between the mundane. A fiddle section with all eight dancing credible and lively folk dances feels right, and a duet of young lovers danced by Charis Haines and Robert Robinson is really engaging, ending with subtle but graphic choreographic sex that conveys their passion beautifully and naturally. Throw in Graham-style running and apparently random stylized violence and death and social conventions and plenty of movement built to follow every note of music to get some sense of this harvest.

    A new piece, Shadow Box, at first looks promising, playing with projected video of ghostly white "dancers", live dancers onstage, and the shadows these live dancers cast from in front of and behind the projection screens. Unfortunately, nothing really gels or compels, and the Bach music used gives the piece an even stronger seen-it, heard-it sense.

    City, also new, really comes close to being a strong piece. Lighting by David Finley and projection design by Brian Clifford Beasley give City a dark and enticing flavor and and some elements of scale and awe that fit the theme of discovering oneself in a big city. Strong dancing by Robinson again, as well as by Jane Sato, Anastasia Soroczynski and Michael Spencer Phillips, gives the piece energy and style. Live music by pianist Hsiang Tu and violinist Shih-Kai Lin, though quite beautiful, never quite seems to match the rest of the piece in mood or vibrance.

    Bolero, both the music by Ravel and this choreography by Pascal Rioult, saves the evening and leaves everyone satisfied. Full-company synchrony with semaphore arms and rhythmic urgency gives the opening drive, even as the dancers largely stand in place, and when the whole group begins to swirl through space with the same drive and urgency, everything clicks. All the dancers look strong and empowered, and the energy holds and builds throughout, matching the music in the best way this time.

    JANUARY 23, 2010
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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