A Fitting “Tribute”
When exhaustion has set in from a hectic workday, and you’re looking for a great place to rest your eyes while your mate, date, or partner sits unknowingly next to you in a dimly lit venue, the Richmond Ballet’s Studio Three series is NOT the place for you. Opening night of Studio Three series brought to the stage the luminous spectrum of talent, embodied by choreographers Malcolm Burn and Gina Patterson.
Malcolm Burns’ A Tribute (featuring the musical compositions of Ricardo Drigo), opened the night with a lighthearted, at times comedic tribute to artist Marcel Marceau (1922-2007). Far from a typical hum drum performance, in dedication to those departed one might expect to see, A Tribute began on a high note both literally and figuratively. The cast consisting of four danced as a cast of one, as they stretched the plane of emotions from stage right to stage left, with the their long smooth lines, and perfectly timed syncopation. Adding to the experience the audience inherently becomes the fifth member of this ensemble as the cast caters to their responses of laughter and applause. It is at this high point that the understanding of the very title is realized as the intensity of movement, in conjunction with sound, transitions the piece from motion to emotion clear through to the more than satisfying end.
Awakened and ready for some action Studio Three now teases and tantalizes with the colorfully dramatic second half installment, Octavo. Featuring the music of Max Richter and Dave Watkins, Gina Patterson artistically captures the balance between dramatic expression and sensual story telling through dance. Waning and waxing amidst fluid movements and hard lines, coupled with variations in tempo, Octavo reveals the mirroring of the internal and external facets of feeling. Depending on the audiences’ vantage point, at any given moment one might see the expressions of feast and deprivation, conflict and unity, and fight and surrender, personified on stage simultaneously. Longing and Love are clear and apparent central elements to this piece.
The sexual tone, is one that is atmospheric as well as expressed through the coupled pairings, not to mention, the girl-on-girl and guy-on-guy movements which are truly an added bonus. Within the eight scenes brought together by seamless transitions Octavio’s fluid currents are enhanced by moments of narration that take the audience by the hand and not only accompanies them through the piece but give confirmation to the emotions and sensations experienced.
It’s more than safe to say that regardless of who’s on this date, or be it Dutch or stag, The Richmond Ballet’s Studio Three series is a pleaser. If your artistic palate seeks a whimsical, light, provoking bite, A Tribute proves to be a classic and tasteful first course. If your appetite calls for something a bit spicy, textured, and satiating, Octavo is sure to leave you full and wanting more.
Richmond Ballet’s Studio Three presents A Tribute runs thru April 3. For tickets and show times, click here.
Natalie Chevonne is a lover of the arts. She is currently a make-up artist across the east cost beginning her career in NYC at Sephora's Fifth Avenue flagship store where she worked as a colorist. E-mail her at email@example.com
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