At the start of Caroline Shaw’s “Partita for 8 Voices,” phrases ricochet through the air like musical notes. “To the side.” “And around.” And later: “The detail of the model is movement.”
In “Partita” by Justin Peck, had its premiere Thursday night at the New York City Ballet Theatre, the dancers – eight, to reflect the number of voices – followed. Gathered in a group in the center of the stage, some skirts drifted to the side like plumes of smoke, while another created a docile spin to “and around”. Shaw’s workPulitzer Prize-winning, is a work of four mysterious and dense movements in which spoken words combine with pronunciation and more ghostly sounds in the midst of sounds originating deep in the neck. throat: groans, gasps, exhalations.
This is the world in which “Partita,” Peck’s newest ballet in sneakers, lives. To listen to Shaw’s music for yourself is to immerse yourself in the fascination of an aural landscape where the voice becomes a visceral embodiment of shape and texture. When paired with a dance, the track – performed live by the Roomful of Teeth ensemble – takes place in another dimension as those sounds transform into intertwined and winding organs, pausing in brief moments before helpless and swaying, once again, to the wave of voices.
But “Partita”, no matter how upside down it is, has a way of flattening itself with each subsequent movement. Some of this happens through the use of Peck repetitions, which do not generate or generate new energy; it just takes away any choreographic surprises. Increasingly, the luxury of “Partita” became more and more commonplace – an expensive object gradually losing its luster. And it To be chic, thanks to a striking outfit designed by Eva LeWitt, daughter of Sol LeWitt, the artist whose work “The 305th Wall” inspired Shaw in the first place.
The premiere hosted the first show of the winter City Ballet, which was delayed because of the coronavirus. Before the dance began, Jonathan Stafford, the company’s artistic director, presented India Bradley and Davide Riccardo with the Janice Levin Prize, which is presented to young, talented members of the ballet troupe. Their speeches are eloquent, captivating. “I can’t see you,” Bradley told the audience, “but I’m sure you all can see fan-yummy. ”
With her nimble feet and serene gaze – she always holds her head like a queen – Bradley often looks like that in “Partita.” As the curtain parted, she and seven other dancers, dressed in simple Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung costumes, posed as a group beneath LeWitt’s colorful tubular structures in dangling fabric. The vibrancy of LeWitt’s bright sculptural shapes – sparkling with the help of Brandon Stirling Baker’s beautiful lighting – contrasts well with the dusty earth tones of the costumes, which look like a play.
In this dance, Peck focuses on the background – the power of plié as the dancers, in their seemingly brand new white sneakers, navigate the sound of the track, clicking Blink in and out of the shapes somehow. refers to a worn-out body. There is an extension of one leg with a bent foot, a forward bend of the torso on a raised knee, a frozen walk in space.
Arms are busy to the point of excitement. Sometimes they reach, ecstatic and holy; other times, they push like windmills at high speed or build shapes with geometric precision. In these moments, “Partita” can start to feel like a college dance – in earnest and rooted in the journey of experimentation. As Claire Kretzschmar and Bradley bend their arms to frame each other’s faces, brace yourself: It’s self-conscious.
But there’s also a nodal sweep to the dance. In a duet that followed, Harrison Coll and Taylor Stanley sped things up, gliding across the stage in unison while Tiler Peck skimmed in the background. When she’s front and center, Peck, with her innate musical ability, is breathtaking in her coordination as she defines the alluring grace of her footwork. even if her arms go wild.
When the group, which also includes Ashley Hod, Roman Mejia and Chun Wai Chan – a dashing, newly hired solo artist – reunites, Peck’s obsession with hand-drawn art continues with a repetitive sequence: The dancers keep their round arms to the side; raise them straight and clasp their hands overhead; and finally, extend them to the sides. There’s a way such repetition gives the choreography the air of playtime, which doesn’t always combine with its mature score.
“Partita” is in limbo with one foot in the present and one in the past as it tries to find a connection to the dances of the 1970s and 80s. But a pair of colored sneakers alone. White couldn’t bring Peck any closer to unlocking the secrets of the day. His influence is on the surface, especially in this case, the dances of Twyla Tharp, whose driving ability and dynamics he cannot match. His reverence for Jerome Robbins is also evident. What’s less obvious is what Peck meant for himself.
The program also includes Merce Cunningham glorified “Summerspace,” which, although created in 1958, is a start to the most fresh and invigorating piece on the show. It also takes place in one of the most disparate dance scenes ever made: the setting and costumes of Robert Rauschenberg. Dancers are drawn into the scene, creating an amazing camouflage effect.
Morton Feldman’s score, “Ixion,” an environmental collage of chirping birds and distant thunder, evokes the languor of a warm summer day. But it is not a lethargic ballet. Although the dancers’ costumes match the décor, their bodies are fully exposed, showing all the wobbles and mistimes.
Do they need more time on stage? It’s correct! To dance this dance on the opening night of a season after weeks off, is an act of heroism organized together by commanders Adrian Danchig-Waring, Sara Adams and Emilie Gerrity. But watching the effort is also part of the fun. Ashley Laracey, in her debut, gave a glimpse of true command, providing a model-like buoyancy in her handling and balancing abilities. This is the dance for all seasons, one that should be programmed in a loop. Even better would be to add more Cunningham dances to the mix.
Closer, Christopher Wheeldon’s “DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse,” not a goalkeeper – and it still exists. Created by Michael Nyman, it was originally created for the Royal Ballet in 2006 to celebrate the introduction of high-speed trains in France, known as the TGV. Trains operate on momentum like ballets. But this overwhelming, stressful work for 26 dancers is odd – not in a fun way – and stressful for all the wrong reasons. Cooperation makes you nervous all the time.
Debuts have been plentiful – Mira Nadon’s daring power, opposite Chan, has been most successful, as has Sara Mearns’ dazzling choreography – but “DGV” is, for the most part, above speed. a choreographed song of mind-numbness and betrayal. Why in this day and age do men carry boneless women on stage as if they were moving sculptures in a museum? It’s ancient.
New York City Ballet
Through February 27 at the David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center; nycballet.com.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/arts/dance/review-justin-peck-partita-new-york-city-ballet.html Review: At City Ballet, Give Your Body Voice, With Sneakers