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Dance

Beauty and Wit at the Pillow

Dance: Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown is known for being a pioneer of post-modern dance, which makes her work sound dry and intellectual.
It is anything but.
And to celebrate her company’s 40th anniversary, she presented four works at Jacob’s Pillow, works made in the last four decades, that showed humor, beauty and a delicate playfulness.  
“Les Yeux et l’âme” starts with two couples silhouetted. A third couple joins them and they move at a relaxed, almost stately pace, befitting the Baroque harpsichord piece by Jean-Philippe Rameau.  

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Making Magic

Dance: At Jacob's Pillow
compass@lakevillejournal.com

If they had not established at the outset their exquisite strength and technique in the bravura “La Valse Infernale,” one could have mistaken 3e Étage: Soloists and Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet for a circus. A circus imbued with tricks, high jinks and a head-spinning attraction to vaudeville.

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About Intimacy, Territory and Sometimes Great Joy

Dance at Jacob's Pillow

At the start of “Are you Happy to See Me,” Dongkyu Kim, one of the eight charming dancers, all male, who make up the LDP/Laboratory Dance Project, lay face down in a square of light, while a distorted and circuslike sounding recording of “Je Ne Regrette Rien” played.
This South Korean company, only 10 years old, made a splash in this Jacob’s Pillow debut with its mashup of modern dance, break dance and martial arts.

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Getting It the Wrong Way Around

Dance: Lar Lubovitch at the Pillow
compass@lakevillejournal.com

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company is accessible and flashy, drawing big and enthusiastic crowds to Jacob’s Pillow for a Sunday afternoon of gorgeous choreography, exquisite moves and glossy, soulless theater.
Lubovitch is a master at propelling his willowy dancers around a stage, making them merge and roll and spin away, like ocean tides, abetted by fine costumes and lighting, and music that, mostly, matters.
He makes a beautiful, drowzy world.

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Brilliant, Daring Dancers

Dance: DanzAbierta at Jacob’s Pillow

It seems churlish to criticise DanzAbierta from Cuba at all, a company that, due to political and bureaucratic hurdles, was terribly delayed and nearly did not make it here in time. But when they finally arrived, their energy and polish in “MalSon,” an hour-long piece, was undimmed, and while the choreography was confusing and sometimes hackneyed, the dancers were spectacular to watch and there were some breathtaking moments of daring and beauty.

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Taking Us to New Places

Dance: Tero Saarinen at Bard

It opens in blue, a haunting, timeless, ethereal blue, the kind of blue
that reminds you of dreams. Center Stage amid all this blue light stand three dancers with their backs to the audience. They are of similar height, comparable build and dressed in matching costumes of baggy white pants and simple white tops.
The music begins, a crackly, haunting ditty spoken (sung?) repeatedly:
“Jesus’ blood never failed me. Yes, never failed me. Yes, Jesus’ blood never
failed me. This one thing I know, for he loved me so.”

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Extraordinary Dancers Bring an Eerie Mood to the Pillow

Dance: Kidd Pivot at Jacob’s Pillow

What is it about puppets this year?
For two weeks in a row, there has been a puppet at the center of a dance piece at Jacob’s Pillow. Both were of course metaphors for something more — the inner life of the creator, the forces beyond our control that move and affect us. If last week’s white cloth puppet was a little girl’s dream, the wooden man in Kidd Pivot’s “Dark Matters” was the stuff of a grown-up nightmare, more akin to Chucky than a child’s plaything.

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Undress Me Anywhere!

Dance: Jane Comfort at Jacob's Pillow

Four bosomy Barbie dolls, faces frozen into ingratiating grins, feet in permanent tiptoe, stalk the stage in a Barbie Beauty contest. My companion, aged 12, immediately scribbled some words on her program and showed me: “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic, you can brush my hair, undress me anywhere!” Apparently, these are the words Barbie sings to Ken in a commercial and YouTube video well-known to the Barbie-buying demographic.

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Keigwin + Company + Love of Theater

Dance: Jacob's Pillow
compass@lakevillejournal.com

Swift, glossy, sometimes feirce, Keigwin + Company whipped through a week at Jacob’s Pillow, leaving audiences elated by a mix of dance, music, costume, light and fog.
All the stuff of theater.
Larry Keigwin is the choreographer who moved 150 fashion models around the Lincoln Center fountain at Fashion Week last year. He’s worked with ballet stars and Rockettes, an opera company and cabarets; he is staging a revival of “Rent” off Broadway and his company performs at the Joyce, New York City’s theater for modern dance.
His work is intense and accessible and, often, funny.

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Stronger Than Ever

Jacob's Pillow

Iconic figures who tower over modern dance, and newcomers never before seen in this country bookend the 79th Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, starting next week and running through the end of August in Becket, MA.
The riskiest group on the program this year, according to the Pillow’s Executive Director Ella Baff, may be LDP/Laboratory Dance Project, from South Korea, making its United States debut.

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