This abbreviated review from Liz Ivkovich is for Ballet West’s National Choreographic Festival, May 19 & 20, 26 & 27. The full review will be posted next week after the second weekend of performances.
I wish I could see Nicolo Fonte’s Fox on the Doorstep two more times before I had to write about it. This is the moment I live for as a dance writer, when I know I cannot write this dance adequately. How can I translate Ballet West’s human connection and crisp technique to you? It was perfectly ordinary and extraordinary, folding me into their world.
Fox begins with a heavy stage left; a mass of dancers that resolved into duets and solos, to dissolve again into the group. Beckanne Sisk and Rex Tilton discovered the unseen edges of the music with sharp flicks and easy extensions as they dance together, alone, and with others.
A single light shone from upstage down at the audience. At times it became the moon, at others an interrogation. And when it struck the dancers so that we saw them - strength of movement, sweat lines on leotards - they could see us. Performers and observers, we were there together.
A woman contorted in the center of dancers arranged like a flock of geese, while they watched. At moments, they tried to join her, only to stop and watch again, with cold eyes.
The piece seems to end when the group melts off stage. It begins anew with falling snow, and a lone figure (Chase O’Connell) who is joined for a brief moment by a woman in a gray leotard and soft slippers.
I feel odd singling out these few artists whose faces I recognize. If each dancer had performed their own part alone, it would still be captivating, a mash up of the ease of release technique, the intense exploration of Gaga, and iconic ballet lines.
Yet, it was the company’s commitment to really being together on stage that lingers in my memory. I had the feeling that one gets when seeing someone hold their baby - that they are actually touching another person, not performing what it looks like to touch someone.
This connection between the dancers was so lovely in its ordinary-ness that the performance became extraordinary.
Liz Ivkovich moonlights as loveDANCEmore’s New Media Coordinator and daylights at the UU Sustainability Office and Global Change & Sustainability Center.