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February 03, 1980 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-03

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ELIOTFELD BALLET
Dignified yet down to earth

The Michigan Daily-Sunday, February 3, 1980-Page 5

A KNOCK-OUT COMEDY

.1

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By BENEDETTE PALAZZOLA
When the curtain first rises on a
ballet performance, 'the silent an-
ticipation is so intense that one is
acutely aware of everything about the
entering dancers. One hears the
squeaking of their shoes on ithe floor
and notices the color of their hair and is
reminded of their human imperfection.
A good ballet company is one that goes
on to make the viewer forget both him-
self and the performers. A good com-
pany casts a spell; and this was cer-
tainly the case with the Eliot Feld
Ballet on Friday night in the Power
Center.* -
Eliot Feld has been hailed as one of
the most talented choreographers of his

generation, and tne opening number
Friday evening gave immediate sup-
port to this claim. In The Consort, Feld
beings with four couples onstage in
bright, lavish Elizabethan costumes,
and proceeds to group and regroup his
dancers with the most gracefulV of tran-
sitions. The dancing is courtly and
noble, with delicate, wistful ladies

smiling deligntedly and gentlemen
graciously robust and chivalric. There
is a use of hand gestures, suggestive of
spinning thread or plucking at a
lyre. The entire first section of the
ballet depicts a lifestyle of leisured
dignity.
With a shift in the music from win-
some guitar and woodwinds to a
brighter horns section, a certain infor-
mality enters. The women gather
talkatively in a corner to take the heavy
ornaments out of their hair and pin up
their long, colorful skirts. The men
throw away their caps. There is a
sweetly sensual pas de deux, and one
starts thinking how nice life could have
been for the medieval nobility if they

really had loosened up like this. The
scene is now fast-moving and fun, with
intricate group movements.
Then, suddenly, the ballet plunges in-
to a widely climactic action. The music
clangs ominously in a minor key. Many
couples are onstage involved in violen-
tly powerful lifts and falls, creating a
dance of stormy sexual imagery. An
atmosphere of decadence prevails at
the end which, in contrast to the earlier
propriety, has fantastic impact.
Intermezzo followed Consort on the
program. One of Feld's most well-
known pieces, it is set to the music of
Brahms performed live onstage. The
piano is placed in the downstage right
corner, and the dancers begin facing it.
Three couples, dressed in subtle
shades-beautifully costumed again,
by Willa Kim-perform a series of pas
de deux and supported adagios. The
ballerinas fall into the arms of their
partners weightlessly and with
exquisite timing. This is movement for
the beauty of movement; presented in
unassuming abstraction; later on in the
piece the insection of a little
choreographic humor is unexpected
and delightful. Especially appreciated
by the audience was Christine Sarry's
skill in some of the most demanding
sections of the work.
Feld's dancers all have a flexibility in
the upper body, indicating modern in-
fluence. His choreography is classical,
but he does not accept this as any kind of
limitation. There was, at times, a certain
sameness in the lifts, during partner
work. It was, however, a pleasure to see
the way Feld uses the men in his com-
pany. They are given a lot to do besides
the standard variations and ballerina-
lifting, and they do it well.
THE CLOSING number was A Foot-
step of Air, to Beethoven's
arrangement of Irish and Scottish folk
songs. The costumes are a jesterish
hodge-podge of plaids and bright hues,
and the lighting effects a pretty blue-
sky backdrop. This ballet is jolly and
quick-witted, very pleasing to the eye
and full of charming characterization.
While Feld's choreography is center-
piece, his dancers also showed a lot of
personality here. One of them was
engaged in dancing a solo with a great
big shepherds' crook when his prop
broke out from under him. The lights
went out and the next section was
begun; but at curtain-calls the dancer
didn't hesitate to carry his repaired
shepherds' crook out with him, just to
show us that everything came out all
right. The dancers got an almost deser-
ved standing ovation from an en-
thusiastic crowd.
The Eliot Feld is an extremely en-
joyable ballet company: interesting,
aesthetic, and entertaining. Their per-
formances are a highly recommended
opportunity to see both good dancing
and good theater.

Daily Photos by MAUREEN O'MALLEY
Ra power
It seems that Sun Ra and his entire Solar Jet Set Arkestra made the trek from Philadelphia to East Lansing for a
performance Friday night..The only problem was that Showcase Jazz hadn't confirmed the gig so Ra and his gaggle
of Musicians, singers, and dancers were left in-a lurch with nowhere to play. A few hurried negotiations later, the
band ended up performing for over three hours to an ecstatic crowd at the New Old Brick in Ann Arbor. Here's how
the arkestra looked both Friday and at the Eclipse jazz festival last fall.

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Documentary Double Feature
THE ANDERSON PLATOON (AT 7:00)
Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary of 1967. This is a film about
the men of Joseph Anderson's Platoon in Vietnam. Anderson, a black gradu-
ate of West Point, and his men were filmed as they ate, slept, fought, and
died. By Pierre Schoenporffer MAN OF ARAN (AT 9:05)
Robert Flaherty's 1934 look at the people of Aran-an island off the coast of
Ireland--as they confront the harsh environment of winds and the sea in a
struggle for survival.
Mon: TRASH (Produced by Andy Warhol)
Tues: Ichikawa's AN ACTOR'S REVENG (FREE)

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