Romance And Mysticism Abound In "Spring Desire"

April 27, 2012
REVIEW by Chicagoist
Michelle Meywes


The Joffrey Ballet closes out the season with a program loaded with classic romance called “Spring Desire.” whose focus is the world premiere of Incantations, a new work by Val Caniparoli. The most contemporary piece on the bill, Incantations fuses classic ballet movement with a touch of modern dance. Russian composer Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky’s score sets a whimsical mood, as dancers spiral (literally) over each other. The set and lighting play a big part in this piece with the spiral theme heavily in place. Cyllindrical wire fixtures hang over the stage while costuming is kept simple in nude colors with curious henna tattoos on the backs of the male dancers. Lucy Carter’s (whose work we saw in Infra) prominent and deliberate lighting design is noteworthy in itself for adding to the work rather than simply performing a function.

Also on the spring program are Age of Innocence and In the Night. Dancers Fabrice Camels and Victoria Jaiani stand out as pairs in both pieces, taking the lead in Age of Innocence. Inspired by the novels of Jane Austin, choreographer Edwaard Liang tells a tale that begins with a period influenced line dance between the young men and women. Passion and tension abound through four acts set to the compelling music of Phillip Glass and Thomas Newman, including an impressive all-male portion with Raul Casasola, Aaron Rogers, Ricardo Santos and Temur Suluashvili showing off their strength.

In the Night is a work by Jerome Robbins that first premiered in 1970. Robbins, who passed away in 1998, may be most recognizable for his work on West Side Story, for which he won two Academy Awards, but his career as a choreographer and director was long and decorated. This piece spotlights three different couples through three pas de deux. They range from youthful and romantic, to formal and reserved, to firey and passionate. All reminiscent of someone you know, or perhaps affairs you’ve known yourself.

Nine performances remain through May 6 at Auditorium Theatre, including three “Meet the Artists” events. Visit The Joffrey’s website for ticket information.