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Subject: "White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1358
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Kevin Ng

18-02-01, 07:38 AM (GMT)
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"White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review"
 
   LAST EDITED ON 18-02-01 AT 08:06 AM (GMT)

The most significant dance company appearing in this month's Hong Kong Arts Festival is the White Oak Dance Project co-founded in 1990 by Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was making his first appearance in Hong Kong this weekend. The company also visited South Korea, and will perform in Taiwan and Guam on this Asian tour.

The programme seen in the three sold-out performances at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (as well as in the other Asian venues) consisted of five works by prominent American choreographers, which made for an enjoyable evening full of diversity. The first-night audience clearly loved it, as reflected in the loud curtain calls at the end. And it is typical of Baryshnikov's modesty nowadays that he took those curtain calls together with his six fellow dancers, and deliberately avoided any solo curtain calls. Hong Kong audiences this time seemed to get better value for money than the London audiences who saw the company at Sadler's Wells in 1999 (when I last saw the company), because Baryshnikov appeared on stage practically all evening with the only exception of the opening ensemble piece.

This interesting opening work "See Through Knot", choreographed last year by John Jasperse, emphasises the upper body. The dancers' arms sometimes ripple playfully like waves, forming various pleasing decorative patterns, while at other times their arms splay violently and mechanically. Their heads also wag at times to follow through the motion.

This work was followed by a delightful solo for Baryshnikov called "Peccadillos" (2000) choreographed by Mark Morris. Set to Satie's piano music for children played on a toy piano on stage, this work shows off Baryshnikov's highly articulate full-bodied dancing, especially his still impressive jumps, and above all his supreme musicality. There are some nice comic touches when Baryshnikov seems to impersonate a toy soldier making salutes, as well as some darker currents when he hits his chest repeatedly as if in desperation. Another section resembles a Baroque court dance, with some delightful legwork for Baryshnikov.

The third piece "For the love of rehearsal" (2000), choreographed by David Gordon, sees Baryshnikov interacting happily with his colleagues. This masterly work, for me the best in this programme, shows wonderfully the process of accumulation of scale and momentum in dance-making. A male solo for Keith Sabado in the beginning develops into an intensive duet with running steps. Then Michael Lomeka joins the mixed couple to dance a trio which sees them frequently rolling on the ground, before another woman enters to form a quartet. There are frequent changes in the pairings of the four dancers who frequently embrace each other. When the two male dancers dance together, one lifts the other in some unexpected high lifts at some points. This work is rich in emotional resonances. The climax has a sustained earthbound solo for Baryshnikov followed by an exhilarating finale which is a joyful communal celebration. Bach's music was excellently played by the cellist Alberto Parrini.

Baryshnikov also danced in Mark Morris' "The Argument" (1999). The various sections of Schumann's music depict different stages of the couple's love-hate relationship, with tenderness alternating with the quarrelsome moments. Emily Coates danced impressively as Baryshnikov's partner. This is a scaled-down version and is different from the version danced in London in 1999, when Baryshnikov danced with three female partners instead.

The final work was another ensemble piece for the whole company all clad in black costumes - Lucinda Childs' "Concerto" (1993) set to a pulsating score by Henryk Gorecki. Everyone including Baryshnikov danced frantically at break-neck speed in this exciting work which uses only a limited range of movement vocabulary. All in all, it was a rewarding evening.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review Jim 18-02-01 1
     RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review Kevin Ng 18-02-01 2
         RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review smw380 18-02-01 3
             RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review jane whitehead 20-02-01 4
                 Re:Hong Kong festival Kevin Ng 21-02-01 5
                     RE: Re:Hong Kong festival Jane Whitehead 22-02-01 6
                         RE:Hong Kong Festival Kevin Ng 23-02-01 7

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Jim

18-02-01, 07:53 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review"
In response to message #0
 
   Thank you Kevin, I did not know about this company. Is the chroeography mainly of a modern or classical character? For example do the women dance on pointe?


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Kevin Ng

18-02-01, 08:14 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review"
In response to message #1
 
   Jim, this American company only does modern dance. It has danced in London several times in the 1990s. No, the women don't dance on pointe.


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smw380

18-02-01, 03:51 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review"
In response to message #2
 
   I saw White Oak the year before last and was very impressed. They'll be here in Brooklyn this June, and I definitely plan on attending. I thought the choreography and the quality of the dancing was top notch. I'm so impressed with Barishykov's commitment to continue dancing and to use his celebrity to promote newer and lesser-known artists. I think he's redefined what growing older as a dancer can mean. It's a wonderful company and absolutely worth seeking out.

sarah


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jane whitehead

20-02-01, 08:05 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: White Oak Dance Project's Asian tour - review"
In response to message #3
 
   What is going on next at the festival. I am visiting soon and is there anything worth seeing.


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Kevin Ng

21-02-01, 02:14 AM (GMT)
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5. "Re:Hong Kong festival"
In response to message #4
 
   Jane, please e-mail me if I can be of help to you, as I don't know the time of your visit. Peter Schaufuss Ballet will perform in Hong Kong in early March - Midnight Express and a Tchaikovsky Trilogy.


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Jane Whitehead

22-02-01, 07:45 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Re:Hong Kong festival"
In response to message #5
 
   I am going to Hong Kong in March. Obviously Peter Schaufuss is a very very very famous name in the dance world, however I have never been fortunate enough to of seen his company. What are they like. I believe they were in London last year. I am very intruiged as Schaufuss was one of the most amazing male dancers of his time, and this isn't his first directorship.

Midnight Express I take it is the story of Billy Hayes in Istanbul, I saw the film years ago do you have any more info on it. Also what is the Tchaikovsky Trilogy. Any info you can give would be gratefully received.

Kevin if possible could you give the ticket prices and the current availability. Might see you there.


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Kevin Ng

23-02-01, 02:42 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE:Hong Kong Festival"
In response to message #6
 
   Jane, the Schaufuss company's performances are on 6-11 March. There are still tickets left, and the top price is around 50 pounds. I haven't seen either Midnight Express or the Tchaikovksy, but I understand that the former is based on the film. I saw the company in London last year, but in a different work on Elvis Presley. Please e-mail me if you need more info.


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