Sunday, November 15, 2009

Petite Mort

To conclude a fairly art-soaked week, last night I attended Pacific Northwest Ballet's Director's Choice with my roommate. I've been so impressed and moved by the two productions I've seen at the PNB thus far and may very well invest in season tickets next year.

My two favorites of the evening were a world premiere of "The Seasons," an allegorical ballet in one-act, and Petite Mort. The real standout was Petite Mort, however, choreographed by Jiri Kylian and set to Mozart. The stark, scarcely-clothed dancers looked so vulnerable, pale, and uniform and as they danced in male-female pairs, the choreography demonstrated the ingenious ways that two bodies can be coupled, while at the same time reminding the viewer of the control and violence of these couplings, latent in every geometrical shape and gesture. Erotic and frightening, all at the same time. Explicitly treating the subject of violence and death, the six male dancers began the ballet with an elaborate foil-play, and in a surprise visual gag that I LOVED, six of the female dancers revealed that the great gowns they appeared to be wearing were nothing more than wheeled props. From behind these vast arks of feminine decorum, the real women behind them revealed their smaller, stripped bodies, for which the dresses were merely frames - a cultural trousseau of sorts. What a wonderful and playful visual script.

(p.s. This photo is from the PNB website, copyright Chris Bennion.)

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