Donald Byrd and SDT Premiere LOVE: UPDATE!
6/25/12 EDIT: The Seattle Times published its review of LOVE this weekend, and they loved it! Read:
Donald Byrd’s “Love,” performed by Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater and cellist Denise Djokic, soars purely on music and moves. It runs through June 30, 2012.
The staging, while spare, is striking. The score, Benjamin Britten’s three cello suites played live, is kaleidoscopic in its detail yet direct in its effect. And the dancers couldn’t be more rigorously dazzling.
In short, Donald Byrd’s “Love,” the culmination of Spectrum Dance Theater’s 2011-12 season, is magnificent. Unfolding on two juxtaposed stages (one slightly higher than the other), this world premiere is an ever-shifting tableau of connections, dissolutions, stirrings, recognitions, yearnings and submissions. It’s also so athletically demanding of its performers that it sometimes shades into acrobatic spectacle.
Dancers are limber to the point where you never quite know what’s going to end up where. In one case, Ty Alexander Cheng and Shadou Mintrone step into a classic ballroom-dance pose. Only by the time they complete it, it isn’t an arm-in-arm embrace but, on one side, an arm-on-upraised-leg caress.
Some passages involve (literal) flying leaps of faith. In the third suite, the degree of trust — a mix of abandon and utter self-control — that Jade Solomon Curtis displays in her fellow dancers is awing. With their help, she’s caught, propelled, flung, inverted and sent soaring, occupying the air as if it’s her natural element. Jeroboam Bozeman, with both Curtis and Lopez, never lets the remarkable strength he commands compromise his elegance as he gives them the lift they need.
There are no weak links in this production. Byrd, after a series of big politically-minded productions where he mixed every medium to the max, has pared things down here to the purest possible match of movement with music. The result is a work of stunning beauty.
Donald Byrd, past Fellow at the American Academy in Jerusalem and artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, presents LOVE, a new work:
From the website:
The world premiere of LOVE concludes SDT’s 2011-2012 season, Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd’s exploration of the most complicated of human emotions. The season, entitled “love: subject/object,” has been a retrospective of several narrative works that show “love” as a torturous, obsessive exercise in despair, frailty, and annihilation. LOVE — to be interpreted as resolution, solution, or rejection — will be a clear contrast from the rest of the season, not only for its complete lack of narrative, but also for its all ages accessibility.
LOVE returns Byrd to the grandness and aesthetic beauty of pure dance, with leaps, lifts, extensions, and full ensemble numbers. Inside of a stripped Daniels Recital Hall, a landscape made up of two large island platforms, spectators can observe the “love dances” with clinical distance from above or surgical closeness at ground level; or choose to move around and between the islands to create ever evolving viewing options for LOVE.