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New York Baroque Dance Company and Concert Royal.

Those moments when the creation of dance and music together reach a pinnacle of pure beauty and enchantment are seldom more clearly pronounced than in the opera-ballets of the baroque period. Opportunities to view reconstructions of works from this era are infrequent, which contributes to the air of anticipation surrounding performances of the New York Baroque Dance Company. In the years since its founding, in 1974, the company has gained in authority and fluidity.

But this particular program began with a new, original work by director Catherine Turocy, La Danse et ses Plaisirs ("Dance and its Pleasures"), that lacked an air of spontaneity. It depicted an informal eighteenth-century soiree. The opening Allegro danced by Turocy and Diane Epstein seemed leaden and the final Giga, with Rachel List, Carlos Fittante and Keith Michael joining in, never quite took off. Only a brief mime solo by Turocy, as Euridice anticipating her wedding, rang poignantly true.

Much more animated was "L'Espagne," the second entree from Andre Campra's L'Europe Galante, with choregraphy by Guillaume Louis Pecour as it was published in 1700 and 1704. Pecour's choreography was richly inventive, incorporating the dramatic nuances of Spanish dance in head, arms and feet while still retaining the refined elegance of the baroque style. In the second scene List, Fittante and Alan Tjaarda Jones skillfully accompanied themselves with castanets. The delicate balance between song and dance was perfectly measured in this charming entree.

In Pygmalion, to music by Jean-Philipe Rameau, Turocy's choreography emphasized the comic characters called Games and Laughter, danced with appropriate, jubilant acrobatics by Fittante and Patricia Beaman, but the most charming scene was that in which the Three Graces teach the Statue, who has come to life, to dance. Here the details of baroque footwork, like the subtle raising and lowering of the heel and the well-placed sur le cou-depied, could be appreciated as the tentative Statue occasionally stumbled.

In both "L'Espagne" and Pygmalion the dancers wore white leather masks which, rather than diminishing expression, allowed it to be conveyed by the dancing itself. James Richman, artistic director and founder of Concert Royal, conducted.
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Title Annotation:Florence Gould Hall, New York, New York
Author:Thom, Rose Anne
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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