"Served", "Counterpoint", "Oasis"
Gerald W. Lynch Theater
John Jay College
New York, NY
March 14, 2017
by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2017 by Mary Cargill
Tom Gold, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet, has been choreographing for his small company (made up of a revolving group of dancers, several from is old home company) and for his sixth New York season he presented one premiere and two works from 2016, an impressive output. His choreography is musical, light-hearted and very enjoyable and his dancers look like they are having a wonderful time.
Allynne Noelle, Thomas Garrett, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Evan Swenson in "Served" Photo © Eugene Gologursky.
The evening opened with "Served", a ballet, Gold writes, inspired by the dedication and grace of tennis players and set to Schubert's "Wanderer Fantasy" for solo piano, played live by Xak Bjerken. Its athletic origin was acknowledged in the costumes (oddly not credited): colorful sporty costumes for the five girls and polo shirts and white tights for the four boys. The choreography was full of movement as various groupings moved on and off the stage (Gold is very good at entrances and exits). Though there was no hierarchy, Allynne Noelle and Thomas Garrett, both currently with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, seemed to be the first among equals, with Noelle, a dynamic performer, opening the work and getting a brief duet with the tall and noble Garrett.
The choreography was energetic but purely classical (the women even wore tights, so refreshing to see after so many bare legs in other modern works) and the dancers moved with an invigorating freedom. The lighthearted bounce of the choreography, though, did not really illuminate the music, which served as an efficient and very pleasant background.
"Counterpoint", the premiere, was a pas de deux for New York City Ballet dancers Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara and Daniel Applebaum, set to recorded music by Steve Reich. One of the joys of more intimate companies is the opportunity to see fine dancers who sometimes disappear into the corps of larger companies and Gold showed off both his dancers' physical gifts and their intriguing stage presence. The costumes, by AREA NYC, suggested a somewhat exotic atmosphere, Applebaum shirtless with burnished red pants and Dutton-O'Hara in an elaborate silver lamé tunic. The choreography, with the slightly Oriental arms and wary distance between the dancers, had a stylized, ritualistic feeling and showed off Dutton O'Hara's leggy voluptuousness as well as her guarded, slightly mysterious air.
"Oasis", set to infectiously melodic (recorded) music by John Zorn, was another ballet of atmosphere. The six pony-tailed women, wearing attractively cut white leotards decorated with green fronds (costumes by Marlene Olson Hamm) frolic through constantly changing shapes. They are eventually joined by four men, who get a virtuosic pas de quatre full of double tours. The women too get a chance to show off, indulging in a series of fouettés which end with a bent knee and flexed foot. The smooth, almost floating movements gave an underwater feel, and the dancers' high spirits made it look like a combination of a mermaid convention and a high school sock hop. Elegant good humor and lighthearted charm are a rare and welcome gift, and Gold makes it all look easy.
Photos © Eugene Gologursky:
First: Allynne Noelle, Thomas Garrett, Mary Elizabeth Sell, Evan Swenson in "Served".
Second: Company in "Oasis".
Copyright © 2017 by Mary Cargill