Monday, February 23, 2009

Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal and more

We went to see a performance by Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal this past Saturday evening, part of our contemporary dance series subscription. Two things that I learned more forcefully than ever on Saturday evening were that I've got to be well-rested before I go to these performances, and I've got to stop reading the reviews in the paper.

The company performed two pieces, Mapa and Rossini Cards. Mapa began with all of the members of the company on stage, slowly--ever so slowly--raising one leg and moving it forward, then raising the other leg and moving it forward, etc. The movement was interesting for one minute, and then quickly became tedious during the next three minutes it continued. This was all it took to set me off--probably because I was tired (one of my cats woke me at the crack of dawn), and the description of the dances in the morning's newspaper review primed me for not liking the performance (even though the review was thoroughly positive and laudatory). I also wasn't particularly captivated by the music, which was by Marco Antonio Pena Araujo (hence: MAPA).

Then, about half way through the piece, the set suddenly blazed crimson, the music changed to a jazz score with a strong rhythm, and the dance really took off. This portion began with two of the best dancers in a frenetic, sexy duet and carried through to the end. I was wowed.

If only the energy had carried over to the second piece, Rossini Cards. Actually, I don't know how the energy could have carried over because the dancers had to have been exhausted from the full-tilt-boogy pacing of Mapa. Rossini Cards was set to operatic scores by Rossini, including too many (from my perspective) performed on solo piano--plink, plink, plink. Most of the sequences comprising this piece were solos and duets; they were performed masterfully, but none captivated me. Only one sequence near the end with the whole company on stage piqued my interest. By the end, I was disgusted and thoroughly depressed.

What's the matter with me? The audience loved these performances. They gave the dancers (who were excellent performers) three curtain calls and a thunderous standing ovation; I couldn't wait to get out. I think that my definition of "dance" is too narrow, and I need to be more tolerant and willing to broaden my perspectives. The depression came from lots of things bundled together including being tired and cranky, being predisposed not to like the performance by the review, and (honestly) not liking some of the movement. In restrospect, I probably over-reacted.

As a result of Saturday evening, I was in a foul mood all day Sunday. I was surly, moody, and sullen (a real charmer, huh?). The drizzly, cold and cloudy weather didn't help much, either, I'm sure. Late in the afternoon, I used the treadmill in the basement, a cardio workout that usually burns bad moods out of me. It helped, but didn't alleviate the depression completely.

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