Donald Byrd Propels DTH Into a New Place

Everybody wants DTH to regain its reputation as a Balanchine company that is versatile too. But I think they can become something more exciting than that. The last piece in Program B, Contested Space by Donald Byrd, laid bare a different kind of psychic space. Each dancer found a new, edgy self in a foreboding, roiling place. Da’Von Doane, lying on the floor, swiveled body parts you couldn’t name. A strong, rooted dancer, he looked completely different in these opening moves—almost reptilian. Alexandra Jacob’s hyperflexibility, deadpan expression, and brazen force as she twisted into and around Samuel Wilson, demanded attention. Each dancer kept their individuality throughout Byrd’s oddly awkward, harshly intimate duets. Sometimes a head seemed glued to a partner’s back, or an elbow got caught in the crook of a knee. Amon Tobin’s music clanged and swooshed and changed textures as the dancers shifted into each new section.

Bravo to Byrd for completely unsentimental, relentlessly inventive, continually engaging choreography! And Bravo to DTH’s dancers for fearlessly and fiercely confronting the challenge of Contested Space!

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Friday Film Break: Kyle Abraham's "When We Fell" for New York City Ballet

For his third work on New York City Ballet, choreographer Kyle Abraham has created a quietly haunting new dance film called "When We Fell." Abraham told Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times that a peaceful winter residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park deeply influenced the material, and it shows in the work's spare beauty and elegant sense of calm.

Available for free as part of NYCB's digital season until April 22, the film was co-directed by cinematographer Ryan Marie Helfant. The cast includes India Bradley, Jonathan Fahoury, Christopher Grant, Claire Kretzschmar, Lauren Lovette, Taylor Stanley, KJ Takahashi and Sebastian Villarini-Velez.

February 2021