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Washington Ballet.

Beautifully schooled dancers were the highlight of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors appearances by the Washington Ballet under the artistic direction of the ensemble's founder, Mary Day. Choreography by former company leaders seemed a theme for this particular program. The late Choo-San Goh was represented by Fives and the pas de deux from Momentum. Kevin McKenzie, who currently heads American Ballet Theatre, created the lovely Transcendental Etudes for the Washingtonians during his tenure on the Potomac.

Set to Franz Liszt's piano composition of the same title, Transcendental Etudes is a revelation of McKenzie's respect for form and his considerable talent as a choreographer. Performed by eight dancers--Melanie Anderson, Chip Coleman, John Goding, Tristi McMaster, Julie Miles, Roger Plaut, Jennifer Reth and Peter Stark--the piece is both bold and poignant. Great sweeping flourishes propel the dancers across the space, yet these moments are punctuated by intimate duets and quite tender lifts. Committed to an ideal of "music for the future" and, in later years, to an ardent spirituality, Liszt made passages in these etudes that transport audiences to a shimmering vision of the sublime. McKenzie has fulfilled that musical promise with beautifully detailed imagery. Unlike the brooding undertones in Chopin's works from the same period that make up the score for Jerome Robbins's Dances at a Gathering, Transcendental Etudes celebrates the light at the end of Romanticism's somber tunnel.

Lynn Cote's Icare, Monica Levy's Overstepping, and Goding's Danzon were also presented. If the Washington dancers are academically correct, they can also be somewhat pallid, often executing perfect lines without a trace of passion or urgency. This trait, in combination with too many piano ballets on a single bill, left a numbing impression of the concert. I hope for a livelier experience when the troupe returns to New York City in January for a weeklong engagement at the Joyce Theater.
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Title Annotation:Damrosch Park Bandshell, New York, New York
Author:Hardy, Camille
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Nov 1, 1995
Words:309
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