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January 22, 1980 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-01-22

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, January 22, 1980-Page 5
Ballet Canadiens leaps toA2

Cocker 'fades away

Last Sunday evening Les Grands
Ballets Canadiens proved that it is not
always necessary to go to New York
City to see a top flight ballet perfor-
mance. Despite the dancers' un-
familiarity with the Power Center's
stage which is known for its hardness
and noisy qualities, the company dan-
ced strongly and showed itself capable
of working comfortably in a variety of
different choreographic styles. The
performance began with Concerto
Barocco, an abstract ballet by George
Balanchine, which is set to Bach's Con-
certo in D minor for two violins. Now
considered a modern classic, the ballet
requires a tight interplay between the
all-female corps and three soloists -
danced on Sunday by Jerilyn Dana,
David La Hay, and Karen Brown.
The company as a whole appeared to
have absorbed the Balanchine idiom
well. Dancers were careful to use New
York City Ballet (Balanchine's resident
company) arms on turns and feet were
nicely placed in raccourci. In a piece of
this nature, the corps forms 'an ever-
changing backdrop for the soloists. As
such, the clean lines, precise timing,
and lyrical quality of the corps added
much to the performance. Indeed, in
several places Les Grands Ballets
Canadiens looked better performing
Concerto Barocco than NYCB has at
times. It is true that there was a little
unevenness in technique among the
corps; however, in general it did not
detract from the line. The overall
strength of the corps could be seen in
the ease with which the dancers per-
formed typically "impossible" Balan-
chine steps such as repeated jumps

landing in a pile on full pointe.
HOWEVER WELL the corps perfor-
med, it was the elegant dancing of
Jerilyn Dana, the principal female
soloist, which was the high point of the
ballet and perhaps the entire evening.
Miss Dana's strong back, excellent line
and extension, and the smooth quality
of her jumps made for a fine second
movement (largo ma non tanto) in the
ballet. The only flaw in her presentation
was the sharpness of her arms, which
occasionally detracted from her turns.
Miss Dana's partnerwork with David
La Hay was strong and secure,
although there were one or two small
lapses in communication coming out of
jumps. 'Particularly noteworthy was
Miss Dana's slide across the'stage from
a throw by Mr. La Hay, ending with a
rotation into an arabesque. This
dramatic move was repeated three
times and was impressive for the ease
with which it was performed. The
second female soloist, Miss Brown,
danced adequately but seemed slightly
mismatched with Miss Dana in terms of
technical brilliance. This was
especially evident in the first
movement where her jumps and exten-
sion did not echo Miss Dana's dancing
as well as they might have.
THESECOND ballet on the program,
Double Quartet, with music by
Schubert and Schafer, and
choreography by Brian Macdonald,
was much less successful than the first.
A curious mixture of moves from both
Balanchine and Graham, the ballet of-
fered contractions juxtaposed with
balances, flexed feet contrasted with
pointed ones, and considerable uncon-
ventional use of the floor. However, the

ballet never really seemed to establish
a mood with the audience. The music
reflected this uncertainty, being a
singularly unpleasant combination of
Schubert's Quartettsatz in C minor and
Schafer's First String Quartet. Accor-
ding to the program notes, these two
pieces were meant to interlock in some
way; however, judging by the polite but
strained expressions on the faces of

those sitting nearby, this reviewer was
not the only one to find the music
almost painful in its dissonance. The
four dancers, Annette av Paul, Andrew
Kuharsky, Jacques Drapeau, and
Dwight Shelton, did the best that
probably could be expected with the
irregular score and the athletic contor-
tions required by the choreography.
See BALLET, Pg. 9

Occasionally, it's both important and
amusing to look backwards at one's
p achievements in the music
b ness, to see where you have once
been, in (hopefully) an effort tb see
where you're.heading. Elton John and
Paul McCartney .are two British
rockers that come to mind who've ef-
fectively altered their present course
by sussing up their roots. But to
stagnate in the same style or time
period is musical suicide.
Joe Cocker, who performed at the
Second Chance Sunday and Monday
*tt, is an example of that inability to
progress. Billed as "the' legendary Joe
Cocker", he epitomizes what we all
fondly remember from the '60's and the
Woodstock Generation, the era in which
he gained popularity. And Cocker's
crowd was a '60's crowd, too, con-
spicuous in their behavior. On the
club's upper tier a couple repeatedly
banged genitals to buttocks in frenzy to
the music; the audience saluted with
outstretched arms, fingers pointing
tards heaven; matches were lit in
hopes of an encore; a mirror ball sput-
tered during one of Joe's tunes. Gosh,
people still do these things at concerts?
The only things missing were peace
symbols, armbands, and the Vietnam
seemed, reaching middle age too
rapidly, Cocker's hour-long set was a
predictable conglomeration of his most
fWoiiliar radio material. He is on tour
a new album to support (the
latest being a rehash of his greatest
hits). It is surprising that, with all of the
exciting musical forms that have
evolved even in the past five years, Mr.
Cocker was able to sellout the club
Sunday night at $10 a head when he has
nothing new - either musically or per-
formance-wise - to offer.

Like another =gravel-voiced singer
from the 60's, Richie Havens, Cocker is
basically a blues-influenced cover ar-
tist, offering renditions of works by The
Beatles and Bob Dylan, among others.
Backed by a five-piece band and two
back-up singers (one of the Tina Turner
mold), Cocker's vocalizations (you
really can't call it singing) were effec-
tively drowned out. In fact, he played
second string to- his excellent band all
night, and it's unfortunate (or perhaps
craftily planned) that Cocker chose not
to introduce the members, who truly
outshone him.
and rolling through "Feelin' Alright,"
"Whiter Shade of Pale," "Delta Lady"
and "Watching the River Flow,"
Cocker, who has a reputation of par-
tying heartily backstage (sometimes to
the point of not being able to perform),
alternately scowled and looked around
inquisitively at the crowd, as if he
didn't know what they - or he - were
doing there. Never one for stage
presence, even before the era of his
fame was over, Cocker was content to
let his band keep the audience's energy
level high. It was a sad sight to watch
this balding, aging performer,
motionless except for his Heineken-
induced staggers, front an otherwise
capable band. On the closer "With A'
Little Help From My Friends," Cocker
seemed out of place while his band built
to a rousing climax.
Reminiscent of a seedy Van
Morrison, with little of the brilliance,
Joe Cocker packages '60's memories in
a more or less interesting fashion,
though it's hard to get excited about
music that happened almost 20 years
ago. Webster's defines nostalgia as a
"sometimes abnormal year-
ning ... (for) some past period or
irrevocable condition." Cocker hasn't
moved with the times, and it's a shame
to see him standing still.


]Jiin 1i aU0rts3
Have you ever attended a concert, play or film only to awaken the
following morning to read a review that seemed to be written by someone
who went to a different show of the same name? If you've ever said, "I could
do that!" after disagreeing with an arts page review, it's time to put your
typewriter where your mouth is.
The Michigan Daily is looking for new arts staff writers. The only
prerequisites are a specific interest in writing and a general interest in the
"arts" (use your own definition). Beside the usual music-film-theatre
criticism we have an urgent need for writers interested in classical music,
visual arts (museum shows, etc.) and feature articles. The bottom line here
is creativity; if you have some insight or offbeat approach to offer, the arts
page can be your outlet.
The meeting for prospective arts staff writers is next Sunday, January
27, upstairs at the Students Publications luilding at 420 Maynard, at 3:00
p.m. Please bring a typed, triple-spaced sample of your writing (only a page
or two in length), preferably representative of the kind of events you would
like to cover. If you can't make it to the meeting, stop in any weekday after-
noon and ask for the arts editors.



Dai 663-0511
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