For PACIFIC, Mark Morris' choreography brings modern flair to the evenings most traditional ballet aesthetic. He utilizes crisp, gorgeous, sumptuous lines in the dance. The first three of the four movements are color coded, with a different group dancing in each movement. In the final movement, we see the three different colored groups come together, dance separately of, and join with each other. The first three pieces are elegiac and gorgeous, with movements that highlight the serenity of the music. The fourth piece starts with a Zen, peaceful quality, but builds in energy throughout. As the fourth movement races towards its climax, the three groups begin to coalesce and create movement together. The ballet ends with all nine dancers dancing in striking unison.
Costume Design by Martin Pakledinaz utilizes white flowing materials, giving every dancer a floor length skirt that they manipulate into fluidity with their choreography. The first group's skirts are accented with blue, the second with green, and the third with red. These choices are mirrored in James F. Ingalls Lighting Design, which boldly showcases the color on the upstage cyclorama. With the colors and movements, I got the idea that we saw the elements of water, earth, and lava/fire acting separately of each other. For the final movement, the cyclorama reverts to an oceanic blue, and the movement seemed to indicate lava mixing with water and natural elements to create new land, giving the impression of how the islands of the pacific were formed.
PACIFIC is danced to Lou Harrison's Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano. Denise Tarrant on Violin, Barrett Sills on Cello, and Katherine Burkwall-Cison on Piano fantastically play the music.
The World Premiere of MURMURATION elicited audible gasps and cheers from Sunday's audience. The striking, stirring, and highly athletic choreography by Edwaard Liang is raw, visceral, intense, and extremely passionate. It perfectly matches the stark urgency of the score. The dancers slide in and out of position, slap their legs to create bodily percussion, writhe with momentum and dexterity, and drag their partners through rich and extravagant, awe-inspiring movements of human agility. The dancers move with a primal, animalistic sensuality. Partners are claimed, fought for, and won in the emotive and evocative piece. Standout performances are offered by recently promoted to Principal Karina Gonzalez, expertly showcasing the skills and talents. Christopher Coomer also does a spectacular job as the male dance lead in the piece, showcasing his strength and amazing, nimble liveliness.
Costume Design by Edwaard Liang and Laura Lynch utilizes a gray color palette that matches the mood and tone of the music and choreography. The same severity is present in Lisa J. Pinkham's minimalistic Lighting Design. None of the technical aspects get in the way of the dancers, which guarantees that everything the audience gets to interpret the piece comes strictly from the choreography and movements of the proficient and enchanting dancers.
MURMURATION is danced to Ezio Bosso's pulsating Violin Concerto No. 1, Esoconcerto. Ermanno Florio conducts the piece with a tangible exigency, ensuring that it propels forward with a stunning momentum that is expertly matched by the dancers. Violin solos by Denise Tarrant are alluring, sharp, crisp, and gorgeous.