Dance: Juilliard Ensemble Presents 3 New Works,
Daniel Lewis Finishes
By CLIVE BARNES
April 29, 1975
Always one of the more interesting annual events of the dance calendar is the series given by the Juilliard Dance Ensemble at the Juilliard Theater. The dancers graduating or senior students are always of a high professional level, and usually pains have been taken to present an interesting program showing off their talents. This year-the series took place Saturday, Sunday and yesterday-was special, however. because Juilliard had commissioned three new works from established choreographers, Daniel Lewis. Kazuko Hirabayashi and Anna Sokolow.
The Daniel Lewis was perhaps of particular interest. It was The Waldstein Sonata.” which José Limón, was working on with his company, at his death in 1971. Mr. Lewis-then a member of the Lim6n Company and later, for a time, its acting artistic director has reconstructed as much of the Lim6n choreography as he could, and completed the ballet himself. The result is most gratifying. It is an interesting work.
The sonata itself is a wonderful piece of musical Architecture, graceful and yet with a new power and confidence, that had come to Beethoven since he composed the “Eroica” Symphony. Interestingly, each movement builds up from a pianissimo beginning, and Mr. Lewis (and obviously Lim6n) have recognized this taut and brilliant sense of structure. One admired the eccentric but oddly appropriate arm gestures (with the arm held up, bent at the elbow in an Attic pose) and throughout the work’s use of stillness. One dancer might provide a static focus for the dance, and at times the choreography would hurtle impetuously along matching headlong arpeggios, at other times, it would halve or quarter the music’s time, providing a different kind of visual commentary and symmetry.
Miss Hirabayashi’s “Mask of Night” is a work of intense, even disquieting atmosphere. It is set to music by George Crumb (his Music for a Summer Evening” and “Makrokosmos III”) and typically for the composer the combined score is full of the ·most beautiful tingles, tangles and twangles. Crumb makes music to wade through; a sort of musical never-never-land full of unseen voices. It lends itself to fantasy, and Miss Hirabayashi has produced images of violence, terror and, at times, peace. Yet it is a troubled landscape I was oddly reminded of that famous Rousseau painting of the sleeping woman and the lion. The work proved a little too long. and also it lacked definition, both dramatic and choreographic. Yet it certainly did have atmosphere. The new Anna Sokolow offering “Beyond the Culture Loop.” with a specially composed jazz score by Teo Macero, had. like “Mask of Night,” handsome costumes and projections by Robert Yodice and sensitive lighting by Joe Pacitti.
It starts with a symbolic man on an invisible tightrope. proceeds to alienated youth and does some cheerful things with a samba. It is fairly familiar or if not familiar, predictable, from Miss Sokolow’s earlier dances, and the shadow of the apocalypse and Miss Sokolow’s own “Opus 64 are never far away. One interesting aspect of Mask of Night” is that it gives Miss Sokolow the chance to work with 41
dancers. and she uses and she uses them Impressively. particularly in tightly organized crowds that spill across the stage like a tidal wave of dancers. Finally, the performers themselves all impossible to identify by name from the program. But this is perhaps just as well, because they all seemed almost equally talented. The way the Juilliard School, year in year out, turns out fine modem dancers is something worth shouting about that is not shouted about enough.