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Boston Ballet.

Merce Cunningham's Breakers, as Boston Ballet danced it, is recognizably Cunningham. The cast's eight women and six men continually test themselves as they find their balance, shape a set of leaps, or hold a pose. The sense of experimentation that permeated the piece at its company premiere is likely to last because the choreographer refuses to let either the performers or the public become distracted by the movement's connotations. By breaking sequences, repeating phrases, or transforming steps, Cunningham always brings the focus back to the movement itself.

Connotations there were on this program, though. The ones inherent in the piece were due to rather unequal numbers of men and women being onstage at different times and to tension between human anatomy, the rectangles of Mary Jean Kenton's set and costumes, and the spatial wanderings of John Driscoll's music. Other associations were due to context, Breakers having been placed by Boston's artistic director, Bruce Marks, on a triple bill between Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 and Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room. Following the Balanchine, the balletic steps and formations in Breakers showed up to an extent unlikely on an all-Cunningham program by his own company. [See page 56.] A threesome even became reminiscent of a pas de trois, the one in which the dancers join hands and the two cavaliers jete around the demiballerina.

Coherence in Cunningham's work comes from the strict limits he imposes. in contrast particularly with In The Upper Room, Cunningham's style is rational, not hyper. No show-off jumping or jogging occurs, with the dancers signaling "look at me, me, me." For all the surprise Cunningham allows in minute matters of shape, the form of Breakers (like other of his pieces) is as logical as that of a good dance class.

Breakers was received politely (save for a couple of walkouts) by audiences that applauded the Balanchine warmly and portions of which went wild for the Tharp. Though many principals were absent, Boston Ballet looked stronger than on its last visit. Star of the run was the formidable Alexandra Koltun; Viktor Plotnikov's stamina withstood four Don Quixote Basilios in a row; and Larissa Ponomarenko seemed the one ex-soviet in Boston with echt Balanchine attack - though she didn't dance any.
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Title Annotation:Opera House, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
Author:Jackson, George
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Previous Article:Ben Munisteri.
Next Article:Royal Ballet.

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