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BALLET: THE DARING PROJECT.

BALLET: THE DARING PROJECT JOYCE THEATER OCTOBER 19-24, 1999 REVIEWED BY AMANDA SMITH

The centerpiece of Ballet: The Daring Project's recent season was Margo Sappington's new work for Valentina Kozlova, which celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the ballerina's defection from Soviet Russia. The new Calling isn't about those twenty years, during which Kozlova has done Broadway, Balanchine, and ballet-based jazz, the latter in this company that she and Sappington created. Nor is it a political statement, unless one stretches the idea of the calling of Western freedom, artistic and otherwise. It is about smell--"This dance represents mankind's irresistible and timeless intoxication with scent," the program note reads.

In this abstract pas de deux, which falls into the category of modern ballet, Kozlova portrays Scent, an enigmatic, otherworldly creature. She wears Willa Kim's unitard of gorgeous green blending to flesh color on the lower torso and legs, and a small jeweled green headpiece. Her mysteriousness suggests both the allure of a mermaid and the eroticism of the faun; indeed, she strikes several poses from Nijinsky's L'Apres-midi d'un Faune. The piece is set to often-Eastern-sounding music by several composers. Kozlova's able partner in the very close pas de deux, Timour Bourtasenkov, is beguiled, but remains a creature apart.

The program's other new work was less successful. Choreographed by Sappington to music by the Rolling Stones, its clumsy title, 3 Out of 7 ... Deadly Sins, is indicative of the awkwardness of the piece itself. The sins--intended to be vanity, sloth, and greed--were not vividly drawn, and the jazzy ballet was done with various masks (by David Black), which the dancers donned and discarded at the cost of emotionally distancing the dancers from the audience.

More satisfying was Sappington's Juliana (1993), about a woman (Lisa Lockwood) caught between the passions of two brothers (Luis Armando Castillo, Philip Gardner). The piece is gratifying because of the complexity and clarity of its dramatic narrative, the passionate quality of the pas de deux work between the woman and her lovers, and the accomplished performances of the three central dancers.
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Title Annotation:Review; Joyce Theater, New York City
Author:SMITH, AMANDA
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:343
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