Thursday, April 2, 2009

Previewing Rioult

Yesterday I was invited to watch a preview rehearsal of Rioult Dance, whose season at the Joyce is coming up next week (April 14-19). I had never seen Pascal Rioult’s work before, but I was very pleasantly surprised! Rioult was a dancer with Martha Graham and has been running this full time company since 1994.

We saw excerpts from the company’s premiere “The Great Mass.” It’s still a work in progress until they open next week, but it looked like a great finished product. There are four main couples who move in and out of sections with tender partnering and sweeping lifts. Each of his dancers has a unique type and character, and it was nice to see that up close in the studio. The partners seemed well matched and each had a strong connection between them, making a moment where they stand quietly and kiss, women with their backs to the audience, very special.

In another part one dancer sits on the shoulders of a male dancer and is enveloped in a long piece of fabric (which was bright orange in rehearsal, though we were told it would be something like cream during performance). She folds the lengthy scarf around, hugging herself while other dancers drag the material out like a king’s cape. It’s a lovely image and one I look forward to seeing with actual lighting and costumes.

The company will present this full length piece and a second repertory program during their season – and I’m definitely going to try to make it to see both!

Before and after the rehearsal it was great to chat with some administrative members of the company (it looks like former Pointe Magazine editor Virginia J. is now helping them out) and hear more background about all of the educational endeavors the dancers pursue. It seems like a very wholesome troupe and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them.

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