From left: (front couple) Macha Daudel and Roberto Zamorano, (rear couple) Ashen Ataljanc and Walter Matteini in Mauro Bigonzetti’s
Photo by Richard Termine for The New York Times, courtesy BAM
Next Wave Festival
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
November 8, 9–12, 2005
Reviewed by Nancy Alfaro
The theater darkens. A banging, stomping, indefinable sound is heard. The dark setting makes the moment mysterious and engaging; the audience sits in quiet anticipation. Thus opens choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti’s Les Noces.
The curtain rose on dancers perched atop tall, metal set pieces that resemble stools. Dressed mostly in couture black (only the “bride” was costumed in white), they rocked back and forth precariously, creating a Forsythian foreshadowing of drama.
Next, powerhouse dancer Roberto Zamorano leaped onto a steel structure that looked like a fashion runway. His animal-like yet uninteresting gyrations led the way for more members of this youthful company to strut their primal stuff. The women lay on their backs, sickling, circling, and curling their gorgeous feet while the men rolled, leaped, and made caveman-like gestures. And it’s here that the ballet falls flat. There is lots of movement but very little real dancing. The choreography doesn’t allow us to appreciate the artistry of these seemingly expert dancers. Instead, the famous 1923 Stravinsky score (which Bigonzetti manipulated by periodically turning it on and off) was the standout. Its driving pace, crashing instrumentation, and dramatic vocal passages sounded nearly contemporary. You found yourself imagining the first audience’s response to this structured musical clamor rather than being captivated by Bigonzetti’s dance.
, the second piece on the program, began with the house lights still up, as a dancer darted through the audience and jumped onto the stage. A set of metal racks hung with clothing in beautiful hues created an almost autumnal visual. A dancer, a furtive thief, hurriedly stuffed a plastic bag with all he could grab from the “store.” As the polizia, a quartet of Godardian cool cats, entered, he hid among the racks. His discovery led to lots of tussling and tossing, and two Elvis- and Marilyn-looking lovers (swaggering Valerio Longo and leggy Ina Broeckx) danced up a storm.
Although the stage was full of moving bodies, the piece lacked choreographic complexity. Bigonzetti seemed able to take on only one aspect of the music and create group unison movement to it, rather than using its complexity as a choreographic launch pad. Because the story is mundane, watching movement crafted to match the beautiful, complicated Stravinsky score would have been more satisfying. See www.aterballetto.it.