by Paula Citron
In the satisfying program, “Legends of 20th Century Dance”, John Alleyne’s Ballet British Columbia proves that it can command the stage.
Martha Graham’s “Appalachian Spring” (1944) is an intense character study in modern dance. George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” (1956) is quintessential neo-classical, while Twyla Tharp’s “Baker’s Dozen” (1979) is sassy ballet/contemporary fusion.
In Graham’s psychological masterpiece set to Aaron Copland’s famous score, the Ballet BC dancers may give the choreographer a lighter quality than modern dancers would, but they pull off “Appalachian Spring” because they clearly understand who they are in Graham’s emotional landscape.
In Tharp’s clever piece, set to the infectious music of legendary stride pianist Willie “The Lion” Smith, the company performs social dances of shifting partners that include amusing and unpredictable physical Tharpisms.
In Balanchine, which mirrors the exuberance of Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 3”, the dancers demonstrate they have solid classical technique and are up to the demands of the choreographer’s non-stop footwork.
From the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.