February 2, 2023
Flight fascinates artists, and in particular dancers. Merce Cunningham devised a ballet Beach Birds inspired by those flighty creatures-- and before him, many more. Makes sense because ballet dancers in particular seek the sky, a release from the earth.
Those images floated through my mind during the premiere of Keerati Jinakunwiphat's Fortuitous Ash to a score by Du Yum: "Run in a Graveyard" and "Air Glow." What appears to be a large sized image of a bird's eyeball and iris stares from a black and white kite-shaped flag above the stage.
A flurry of dancers enter and exit until they congeal. One at a time, they spin into view, backs to the audience, legs and arms rise up weightlessly. At another point, a dancer runs to the light, balances on one leg, arms splayed from the shoulders. Stretching into a diagonal line, the arms balance against the air, some crooked over heads, or spread wide and high.
Jinakunwiphat demonstrates a knowledge of ballet technique, stringing out moves in clear lines, fashioning steps common to ballet sifted through modern dance.
Overall, the ballet exudes a soft sensibility that wafts over Don Scully's projections on the floor, reminiscent of thin clouds. Everything suggests a commonality of desire; an ever-present team spirit composed of distinct talents.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis