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Bolero – Rioult (2002)

February 1, 2010

With the same name as the dance, a soft note begins from Ravel’s Bolero:

The dancers begin on stage in a line wearing matching silver body suits. Their movement is sharp but contained and the small phrases begin to repeat. As they move in a constant pace from one position to the next, sometimes in unison, sometimes in canon, each dancer spends a moment under a soft light to perform a solo corresponding to the delicate melody of a single instrument.

Credit: Basil Childers

The movement increases steadily as the smaller jumps become leaps while the direction and intention of the movements become more intense. They form clumps of unison and the proximity of their expansiveness escalate the atmosphere. After circling around a single frequently replaced dancer in the center performing a solo, the music grows even louder, keeping with the steady beat.

All the while, the backdrop for the piece has slowly shifted along with the music. The machine like movement within the dance becomes even more prominent as Harry Feiner‘s set evokes images of futuristic contraptions. Although such images might suggest fear of the automated unknown, the beautiful music gives it a very lighthearted feel.

The music grows to its loudest movement and the dancers begin to leap, throw and turn in unison and within extreme proximity as the instruments come together as well. The movement is no longer recognizable as the same forms from the beginning. With a final crash of cymbals and a return to the beginning line, the dancers strike their final pose, each within a different part of the previous phrases and the backdrop ends depicting long shadows falling behind a line of pillars.

I found this to be an incredibly exciting dance and one that is simple yet riveting, much like a machine that one can explore to try and understand how it is put together. An interesting aspect of the dance is that the perspective of ‘futuristic machinery’ is from the beginning of the 20th century and because of this, the futuristic qualities are really more historic.

Did you notice the set changing and if so, at what point?

Do you feel as though the futurism is only believable within the context of the 20th century or is it applicable for today?

Does this dance speak of the future or of the past, or does it speak effectively of both?

If you were a small part within a large machine, what part would you be?

January 23rd, 8:00pm
Joyce Theater
New York City, New York

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010 11:47 pm

    If I were a small part within a large machine, I would not be one of those ubiquitous nuts that are easily replaced; I would prefer to be a unique and essential element that is much more expensive than you’d think.

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