What Wendy's Watching: Ballet West Visits The Joyce

October 18, 2017

Last week Ballet West breezed into New York City’s Joyce Theater from Salt Lake City. The dancers are excellent—especially the women (what else is new). The company brought five pieces including works by Gerald Arpino, Val Caniparoli and resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte.

Arpino’s last work, made in 2004, is a duet called RUTH, Ricordi per Due (“remembrance for two”). It’s about a man haunted by the memory of the woman he loved. Christopher Ruud is strong and sensitive as the man, and Arolyn Williams is riveting as the ghost of his beloved.

Val Caniparoli energizes his dancers with juicy movement, and always sticks to his theme. (He doesn’t ramble, and let’s face it, long rambling choreography is a problem these days.) In his premiere for Ballet West, Dances for Lou, he takes on the music of Lou Harrison, a composer known for his Eastern sounds and rhythms.

Nicolo Fonte, the company’s resident choreographer, premiered Fox on the Doorstep. It’s inventive, crowded and confusing—until the last fluid, beautifully spare duet.

Katlyn Addison at the Joyce, PC Beau Pearson

And—this is no small thing—I noticed that one of the black dancers, Katlyn Addison, wore her hair in an Afro. (In my spiel, I mistakenly called her African American, but she is actually Canadian of Caribbean decent.) Rules of hair are so strict for ballet dancers, that I was really happy to see this choice.