It has been at least two years since Steve and I went to Charlotte to see North Carolina Dance Theatre. We used to have season tickets. Now, we are both wondering why we still don't subscribe! The performance was wonderful.
There were five pieces:
Seed was choreographed by company member Heather Ferranti Ferguson to traditional Japanese and Chinese Folk music by YoYo Man and others. It was charming. The costumes were very nice, especially the way the pointe shoes were dyed only in part--to look like "slippers". The piece moved along in interesting ways and featured unique movements while focusing on ensemble work. (The work premiered on Thursday night.)
you/me/we was choreographed by Septime Webre to three songs by Nina Simone. For me, this was the highlight of the evening. Young Randolf Ward wowed the audience to "Put A Spell on You". He danced with all the energy, frustration, and pride that is part of Nina Simone's life and music. Traci Gilchrest and Andre Teixera smoldered with a lazy, Southern, sexual partnership that put as much steam into the dance as one imagines in a hot Carolina summer night. This, too, demonstrated a part of Nina Simone's music. The final segment featured my favorite of the company's dancers: Rebecca Carmazzi. She danced with Sasha Janes to "Ne Me Quitte Pas". It was as romantic and ideal as the former piece had been physical and down-to-earth. The entire piece, which premiered just days beforehand, was wonderful. I hope it is performed many, many more times.
After the intermission came the Charlotte Premiere of Daniel Gwirtzman's Cycles. It seemed slowly paced at the beginning. Finally, the music by Terre Thaemlitz clued the audience into the reason behind the strange tension that isolated one dancer then another from the group. I think I would have liked the piece much better had I become awared that the struggles were about domestic abuse long beforehand.
If I weren't writing with my program close by, I likely would have forgotten that the next number was Mark Diamond's Aqua Terra Flora. It wasn't bad; it just wasn't as strong as the other pieces. I got the feeling that the choreographer was trying really, really hard to show literal messages and meanings. I'm not sure I "got" it but felt that I was "suppose to". The best part of the work was the accompaniment. Adam Whiting played Carolo Domeniconi's guitar music on stage for the dancers. This piece, too, premiered the other evening.
The final number was resident choreographer Dwight Rhoden's Moody Booty Blues. It was fun, energetic, up beat, and great. The audience was mad about it though I think the final song in the medley (Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Love Struck Baby") was a little too far over the line. What I mean by that is that the dancing became almost like a Broadway musical, not a dance needing strong ballet and technical background. I much preferred everything that came before this "finale". Randolph Ward, Andre Texeira, and Addul Manzano could have danced all night as far as I was concerned. They were awesome, showed great attitude and style, and dazzled with appropriate displays of "tricks" accompanied by strong entrances and unison work and solid partnering. This was the best part of the last number.
We saw the show after having dinner at ARPA's a tapas restaurant a few blocks away from the Blumenthal Center. We met Seia Rassenti, a member of NCDT 2 and former Kirov grad with Mathias, and her parents Olivia and Steve. It was fun to talk about our children, their dance experiences as professionals, and about future plans and past stories. We will likely come to see Nutcracker in which Seia will dance parts (depending on the night) of party parent, snow, Spanish, and other corps roles.