Performing Arts: Dance
June 7, 2018
Rioult Dance NY returned to The Joyce with an ambitious program matching Russian composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky, and Polina Nazaykinskaya with Artistic Director Pascal Rioult’s choreography. The week-long engagement closed with Nostalghia, a world premiere with composer Nazaykinskaya conducting her strong ensemble composed of Konstantin Soukhovetski (piano), Julian Milkis (clarinet), Regi Papa (violin), Nikita Morozov (violin), Will Curry (viola), Ani Kalayjian (cello), and Alexander Bickard (double bass). Rioult showed his strengths most clearly in Nostalghia, with his moon walks and flat footed stomps accenting the rhythms of the piece.

Dream Suite, Rioult’s twenty minute piece that premiered in 2014 set to Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C Major starts with five barefoot dancers facing the audience mirroring the music; another five on stage left echo the choreography with a slight variation to the repeat of the musical phrase. The choreographic approach has a throw-back aesthetic of modern dance prevalent in the 60-70s with flex feet, torsos erect and stoic. The piece becomes enlivened with the appearance of three dancers in animal masks created by Anne Posluszny, and a few bodies carried aloft in a plank pose. While Tchaikovsky provided marvelous works that inspired countless ballet choreographies, this particular composition does not give rise to a terpsichorean flow.

Rioult’s variation on Les Noces, composed by Igor Stravinsky originally made for a ballet choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska is 1923, is jarring to anyone who has seen Nijinska’s version. While Stravinsky’s voices, percussion, and pianos call for a moment of communal importance, a solemn ritual to commemorate the “tying of a knot, ” a marriage metaphor that Nijinska suggests by draping a rope over the women’s arms, Rioult skips the ceremony in preference for a group anticipation of carnal pleasures. His dancers stripped to their underwear strike cabaret poses around chairs with red bottoms that flash when swung overhead. This erotic suggestion sweeps away the premise of Les Noces.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers

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