Dance Review: Joffrey Ballet

January 31, 2013
California Literary Review
Toba Singer


Under the new artistic leadership of former San Francisco Ballet ballet master, Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet returned to Berkeley’s Zellerbach Auditorium for the first time since its 2007 appearance here, a more homogenous ensemble, yet fully able to reach into a broad-ranging repertoire represented by three pieces: Age of Innocence (Edwaard Liang), After the Rain (Christopher Wheeldon), and the storied The Green Table by Kurt Jooss.

When a generation of a certain age sees the title “Age of Innocence,” what comes to mind is Jane Austen’s application of high-minded prose to melodramatic plots. Here we see a précis of the Austen sensibility, evoked more subtly in the unbleached muslin Edwardian costumes than the movement itself, though taken together they represent a feint in the direction of simplicity in an era that was by no means uncomplicated. While the choreography takes us partway there, the (taped) Philip Glass and Thomas Newman musical score leads us onto a timeline several steps into the more musically iconoclastic Twentieth Century.

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