by Emily Kate Long
This DVD is the first I’ve seen of Alonzo King’s work. I dearly wish I could have seen these dances live; in this case, film detracts from the real thing. The number of cuts and close-ups at inappropriate moments is distracting—these are extraordinarily beautiful dancers doing beautiful movements, and it’s a shame to be denied the ability to watch all of them and study the spatial and dynamic relationships among bodies in the whole space.
Triangle of the Squinches features music by Mickey Hart and imposing sets by architect Christopher Haas. The ensemble sections are busy, made busier by the closeness of the cameras. My favorite moments in this piece are the simple ones: a man nearly falls and is caught and supported by another; a woman walks along the set, as if the wall is the floor, suspended by two men; later, the same woman runs slow-motion with the help of her partner. Dancers occasionally stop and watch one another as if something larger than themselves is passing among them.
Scheherazade is set to a re-working of the Rimsky-Korsakov score by Zakir Hussain. It is costumed simply but spectacularly, and overall is more impressionistic than narrative. A highlight is a moving pas de deux for Laurel Keen and David Harvey, but even here the break is too great between what is dancing and what is relationship.
Dust and Light is another marvelously costumed dance—simple but impeccably well-fit leotards and dresses for the women and shorts for the men in soft, luminous shades. The music is by Corelli and Poulenc, and the atmosphere of the piece is dreamy and sublime.
There are truly lovely moments in all three pieces, but even more that are missed because of the general absence of external focus of the dancers while dancing. I appreciate the cerebral nature of King’s work and the originality of shapes, but I feel as if I’ve just been in a room with a lot of people thinking out loud at once and have no idea what was actually said. The dancers deliberately watch one another when they are not dancing, but as soon as the movement starts, the focus goes inward. I desperately want to go with them and watch them take one another along. Something so thoughtful and intelligent shouldn’t give the impression that it may not be shared.
Here’s a sample of the DVD:
Assistant Editor Emily Kate Long began her dance education in South Bend, Indiana, with Kimmary Williams and Jacob Rice, and graduated in 2007 from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School’s Schenley Program. She has spent summers studying at Ballet Chicago, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Miami City Ballet, and Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive/Vail Valley Dance Intensive, where she served as Program Assistant. Ms Long attended Milwaukee Ballet School’s Summer Intensive on scholarship before being invited to join Milwaukee Ballet II in 2007.
Ms Long has been a member of Ballet Quad Cities since 2009. She has danced featured roles in Deanna Carter’s Ash to Glass and Dracula, participated in the company’s 2010 tour to New York City, and most recently performed principal roles in Courtney Lyon’s Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella. She is also on the faculty of Ballet Quad Cities School of Dance, where she teaches ballet, pointe, and repertoire classes.