Eifman Ballet’s “Rodin” Couples Extreme Dance and Vivid Theatricality

Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg is concluding their tour of North America with performances of “Up and Down” (Segerstrom Center for the Arts last week) and “Rodin” in three performances this week at the Los Angeles Music Center. “Up and Down” is an American jazz age story. It was originally based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “Tender is the Night”. Of the two, “Rodin” (2011) makes a better impression both for its music (a more or less unified assemblage of French music by Ravel, Satie, and others roughly contemporaneous with the life of the sculptor himself) but also for a more clearly articulated storyline. “Up and Down” draws on excerpted music from wildly disparate sources such as Gershwin, Alban Berg, and Schubert. “Rodin” still looks like dance. “Up and Down”, though charged with the same outsized attention to theatrically and staging, felt overwhelmed by Mr. Eifman’s brand of expressionistic movement and mime. The dancing seemed aimed at creating novel effects rather than an honest communication of intimate details.

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Lucinda Childs Dance Company Brings Back a Glossy “Available Light”

Labels are an often used but unfortunate barrier in the art world. Minimalism is one that has been regularly applied to concert music, dance, and opera, but it tends to put any work in a box. Lucinda Childs and John Adams, the principal collaborators for “Available Light” fall into this category. But by the time Childs’ revival of her “Available Light” concluded on Saturday evening at Disney Hall the label seemed mostly irrelevant.

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