THE HONG KONG BALLET
March 17, 2016
A technical and beatiful force, The Hong Kong Ballet performs two programs at The Joyce Theater . Program A contains three unique pieces, the first being Pas de Trois from A Room of Her Own. Downstage rests a large wooden desk, at which sits a woman in a long flowing skirt. The lights raise higher and we see two more figures on stage, a man and a woman with the same long skirt but with colors to match the man. As the dance begins, through contact or lack thereof, we learn of the desk woman's longing for this man. Soon both women trade places dancing with and around this male figure. Leg extensions gorgeously highlighted by the skirts underscore this soulful and sad work that compels the audience to view it with wonder.
By and large, the most memorable piece of the night is the turbulent Castrati choreographed by Nacho Duato. Performed by nine male dancers, the strength oozes through each of Duato’s organic yet stylistic movements. Eight men begin onstage in matching cloaks embellished with a symbol of an unknown group. After their display of uniformity a single man dressed apart begins his struggle to remain apart from this group. Through solos, duets and other groupings, this dominating group attempts to control and even dress this outsider man--though ultimately both sides fail.
Set to the familiar compositions of Karl Jenkins and Antonio Vivaldi, Duato again provides a masterful blend of choreography and music that this company performs with lyrical discipline. The presence of the full cast evokes a visceral viewing experience split by intrigue.
After a confusingly long intermission (perhaps for the principal dancers to catch their breaths) the final work of the evening, In Light and Shadow eases in with a duet. Though ability and artistry cannot be contested as the dancers are clearly expert in their craft, this first duet fails to re engage the audience. It is beautiful, but merely skims the surface of emotion. As the rest of the company steps onto the stage for the second more vibrant section of In Light and Shadows it takes time for the movement to start reaching beyond the rigid technique of ballet to find more breathe and life.
Hong Kong Ballet’s reputation is well earned and under the direction of Madeleine Onne continues to prove itself as an important staple in the world of ballet.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Annie Woller