Configuration – Peter Norton Symphony Space

February 9, 2004


Peter Norton Symphony Space
New York, New York

February 9, 2004

Reviewed by Doris Hering

Called a ballet ensemble for the twenty-first century, Configuration is a five-year-old company offering expertly danced classical ballet technique in contemporary guise. The group makes its home on Cape Cod. This was its New York debut.

Its directors, Joseph Cipolla and Catherine Batcheller, opened the program in Harrison McEldowney’s Swan Tango, which gave the “White Swan” pas de deux a tango that had little to do with the poignant Tchaikovsky music.

Choreographer Thaddeus Davis and composer Peter Wyer created Situation Red for Heather Hamilton, Bonnie Pickard and Juan Rodriguez. Its restless pacing seemed reflective of today’s alertness signals. In direct contrast was Edwaard Liang’s poetic Flight of Angels, danced with gentle dignity by Batcheller and Olivier Wecxsteen to a chanting accompaniment.

Peter Quanz’s Corelli Variations was halted before its conclusion. Juan Rodriguez injured his ankle and had to desert both his partner and the stage. But after a tense interval, the spunky dancers returned in Harrison McEldowney’s At the End of the Road. Not only was McEldowney responsible for the choreography to the suite of Irving Berlin tunes, he also replaced the injured Rodriguez. Unable to fit into the proper costume and not in dancing shape, he partnered courageously. Then, during the enthusiastically applauded bows, he wiped his brow and threw himself to the floor in mock (well, maybe not-so-mock) exhaustion. The audience loved it . . . and him. As for the choreography, it had moments of charm and others where McEldowney blithely ignored Berlin’s words.