Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

A few belated posts from March…

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at the Joyce Theater on Sunday, March 24.

I thoroughly enjoyed Aspen Santa Fe Ballet‘s last visit to the Joyce Theater, and liked learning about their focus on fostering new and creative works. I’ve been curious about what they would present this year.

My favorite today was “Dream Play” by Fernando Melo. The piece has so many unique and unexpected moments.

First and foremost, it’s theatre piece about a pair of lovers, about our desires, and about a dream world. The entire scene is set flat on the floor, with the dancers lying on the stage. The dancers move, roll, crawl, “walk” while lying on one shoulder, “fly” by gliding across the stage on a dolly. The choreography is captured and projected onto a screen via an overhead camera in real time. The movements feel both realistic — the dancers did an incredible job mimicking real-life activities as they “walk” across the stage — and surreal — without gravity, the dancers can jump as high as they want, walk a tightrope, spin, fly in all manners imaginable. I loved how the choreography took advantage of the stage setup and the dream-like environment to create such a rich movement vocabulary.

Second, interspersed between the storytelling were several gorgeous “human” kaleidoscope scenes. The dancers, wearing costumes with high contrast lines, would sit on the floor and move their arms, legs, and torso in beautiful geometric patterns. The patterns, when captured by the overhead camera, formed gorgeous — I mean absolutely gorgeous — shapes that looked like a kaleidoscope but more stunning in every way.

Finally, my favorite moment is when the storytelling and the kaleidoscope scenes merged at the end, and the two lovers burst out of the “human” kaleidoscope in the midst of a sea of spinning red umbrellas. The picture and the movements were just sooooo beautiful.