TODAY

Monday, September 1

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« Strawdog's Pontypool Delivers Quick-Paced Frights Just in Time for Halloween Fashion Focus Chicago Celebrates the Chicago Fashion Incubator »

Dance Sat Oct 20 2012

Review: The Joffrey Ballet's Human Landscapes at the Auditorium Theatre

Christine Rocas and Rory Hohenstein 1.JPG

Image of Forgotten Land, by Herbert Migdoll

Romanticism in performative outlets is not merely a means to highlight ideas of the beautiful. The idea of the "romantic," - in this case, focusing on love and relationships and the complications that arise within - is one that should be handled with care. Like many of the other works performed as part of the Joffrey Ballet's Human Landscapes fall engagement at the Auditorium Theatre, the routines and struggles that most of us encounter throughout our lives elicit gripping storytelling. Each work featured the live accompaniment of the Chicago Philharmonic, escalating the presence and the physicality of the movements.

In Jiří Kylián's Forgotten Land, the evening's opener, company members dance to instantly propulsive music by Benjamin Britten that pushes forward the progression of the movements from soft and delicate to rigid and confined. The flowing red, black, and white costumes as well as the choreography of the coupled dancers moved from intense togetherness to intense breaking apart. When together, the movements with the coupled dancers were often repetitious and completely coordinated. Eventually the couples were broken apart with only one remaining in the end. As in life, the work was a piece of transition and evolution, representing the coming together and moving apart of the relationships, whether romantic or not, in life.

Pretty_BALLET.JPG

Image from Pretty BALLET, by Herbert Migdoll

Pretty BALLET, the evening's second work, was literal in its execution. Choreographer James Kudelka's work was less dramatic than Forgotten Land (and certainly less so than the evening's closing work), and ultimately less charismatic. It was a welcome break from the propulsive percussion that set the tone for Forgotten Land, but it frequently felt incomplete or unwarranted for the tone of the evening. Pretty BALLET created balance, but is balance even necessary when both Forgotten Land and The Green Table provided enough voiceless commentary to leave audiences in awe?

The evening ended with a bang ... literally. Kurt Jooss' 1932 anti-war masterpiece, The Green Table, was the most anticipated work of the evening not just because of its historical status as part of the contemporary ballet canon. It also proved to be a worthy step in the choice of choreography and theatricality for the company. The Joffrey often excels when given the challenge of forcing the role of their company as an outlet for classical or traditional ballet. And like in the past, the company's performance of The Green Table was a site to behold. The work - visually stunning, jarring, at times dedicated to the ideas and practices of the anti-dance movement - was unlike many other works seen or performed in the theatre. A group of dancers (the "Gentleman in Black") in suits stood gathered around a long, green table as they fired off one shot from fake guns. Members of the audience jumped in surprise and the noise was a welcome jolt to the evening.

Fabrice Calmels & Anastacia Holden 2.JPG

Image of Fabrice Calmels and Anastacia Holden in The Green Table, by Herbert Migdoll

That is not to say that the previous performances were dull. Only that the works conformed to classic Joffrey. The company was the first American group to perform the work in 1967 and yet the choreography, costumes, and topicality of the work felt as relevant as it might have in the 60s. Jooss' depicts the frustrations and difficulty of peace negotiations. Like the 1960s, the nation is in a time of war, although the circumstances are much more complicated than in the past. If anything, the work highlights our inability to grow and mature as a society.

What does it mean to have peace? We end conflict, but strife is a reality from year to year, decade to decade. Later scenes in the work include the many recognizable situations of war: the separation of loved ones, scenes of battle, the psychologically-wounded survivors in the aftermath. The lighting, costumes, and props were as dramatic as the movements, adding to the overall theatrical tone of the work. Movements were sharp and direct. This is not a pretty work, but one that settles heavily. Evident in each scene is "Death" (performed by audience-favorite company member Fabrice Calmels), a presence whose jarring and stilted movements serve as a lingering reminder of the repercussions of our actions.

--

The Joffrey Ballet's "Human Landscapes" runs through October 28 at the Auditorium Theatre. Single tickets range from $31 to $152 and may be purchased at The Joffrey Ballet's official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower (10 E. Randolph Street), as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by telephone at (800) 982-2787, or online.

 

Add a Comment




Please enter the letter j in the field below:



Live Comment Preview


Notes & Tags

Items marked with a * are required fields. Please respect each other. We reserve the right to delete any comments borne out of douchebaggery or that deal in asshattery.

Permitted tags and how to use them:

To link: <a href="http://blahblahblah.com">Link text</a>
To italicize: <em>Your text</em>
To bold: <strong>Your text</strong>

Theater Wed Aug 13 2014

An Epic, Tragic Win: All Our Tragic

By Benjamin Cannon & Mike Ewing

What then is to be made of the Hypocrites' new stage production, All Our Tragic? This massive opus, comprising all 32 surviving Greek tragedy plays re-written and directed by Sean Graney, lasts a staggering 12 hours, including intermissions and meal breaks. Ben and Mike go the distance.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Aug 29 2014

The November Man, Frank, As Above/So Below, Love Is Strange, Life of Crime, Bound By Flesh, To Be Takei & Me and You

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

 

Events

Mon Sep 1 2014
Impress These Apes @ ComedySportz

Mon Sep 1 2014
The Unauthorized "Saved by the Bell" Story @ East Room

Mon Sep 1 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Mon Sep 1 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Tue Sep 2 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Wed Sep 3 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Thu Sep 4 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Thu Sep 4 2014
Strictly Ballroom @ Millennium Park

Thu Sep 4 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Fri Sep 5 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Fri Sep 5 2014
Life Itself @ Film Center

Fri Sep 5 2014
The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest

Fri Sep 5 2014
Luiz Gonzάlez Palma Reception & Exhibit @ Schneider Gallery

Fri Sep 5 2014
Zoovie: Best in Show @ Lincoln Park Zoo

Fri Sep 5 2014
First Friday @ Flat Iron Building

Sat Sep 6 2014
Eugene Sun Park's Film Self Deportation @ Chicago Filmmakers

Sat Sep 6 2014
Filipino Cinema series @ Film Center

Sat Sep 6 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Sat Sep 6 2014
Internet Cat Video Festival @ Metro

Sun Sep 7 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: LaShawn Williams, ldw@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15

Newsletter

Sign up for our free email newsletter I Star Chi and get a weekly round-up of the best of Gapers Block, plus our picks for must-do events each weekend!

istarchi

Preferred format    Preferred format