Arab Today, arab today dancer translates poetryinto sinew and snap
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Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Dancer translates poetry into sinew and snap

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Dancer translates poetry  into sinew and snap

New York - Arabstoday

Since Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson founded Complexions Contemporary Ballet in 1994, the company has had one clear reason for existing: as a showcase for the virtuoso dancing of Mr. Richardson. Because this will be his last year touring with the group, a new justification will soon be required.Mr. Rhoden’s choreography isn’t it. Never has been. Over the years it has become commonplace for a critic to praise Mr. Richardson’s charisma and prowess by saying that he can make even Mr. Rhoden’s dances watchable. The first program of Complexions’ two-week season at the Joyce Theater gave Mr. Richardson one more chance to do that, with the premiere of “What Come, Thereafter.”Or it might have. Mr. Richardson has the central role, set apart from the other dancers, but that part consists mainly of entering and exiting the stage, over and over, as if he were having a great deal of trouble deciding to retire. Also, for some reason (or none) he keeps pointing a finger or raising one. That’s when he’s not getting in the way of the couples who dominate the work. It’s too late now to protest that Mr. Richardson deserves better.On Sunday Christie Partelow, one-half of one of those couples, briefly departed from the company’s usual slam-bang, stretch-snap approach to give life to the middle of a phrase. That flash of subtlety drew my eye to other resonant moments hidden inside the pseudo-Forsythe onslaught of hyper-extended limbs. Mr. Rhoden is capable of poetry. He just seems incapable of distinguishing it from dross.He is consistent in his musical tastes. The score for “What Come” is a series of “Chromatic Fantasies and Impromptus” by ELEW, the former jazz pianist Eric Lewis. This isn’t the “rockjazz” that has brought ELEW some fame of late (touring with Josh Groban). It’s classical clichés pummeled with rock dynamics, a fair analogue for what Mr. Rhoden does with his dancers’ extraordinary technique. During Sunday’s performance of the dance, ELEW sat at a piano in his signature armored cuffs and listened to the recording. Later he played along a little, but rarely has live music seemed so superfluous.Collage is what Mr. Rhoden prefers in a score, a cloak for the absence of internal logic in the dance. The hodgepodge of what Mr. Rhoden calls “spiritual” music in the excerpt from “Mercy” (2009) that started the evening only makes it more risible. The sadomasochistic suggestions are routine, but why does everyone sit on conical planters? And why do the women later appear to vomit into them?The music for the program’s other premiere, “Places Please,” is a suite of rockabilly and jump-blues recordings by the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. This is music for dancing, with a beat so whomping no one could miss it. Leave it to Mr. Rhoden. The piece is showbiz, all hats and sparkles. (And more pointing.) A joyless incursion into the most razzle-dazzle edge of Twyla Tharp territory, the dance is one of Mr. Rhoden’s crowd pleasers. The crowd that was pleased by it will most likely get more, with or without Mr. Richardson’s justifying participation.

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