Thrill of Contact Review

Photo by Hoggerandco Audience members get a taste of traditional to downright silly ballet in Boston Ballet’s closing program of the season, “Thrill of Contact”. This collection of pieces concluded the Ballet’s season on a high note

“Theme and Variations” is set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, an extravagant twenty minutes that climax in one of the composer’s most gorgeously processional polonaises. A sky-blue backdrop and a huge, decadent chandelier hang gracefully in the background. With the help of the backdrop, the velvet green costumes dazzled under the lights and accentuated the rich and traditional moves of the dancers.

“Fremd” was the most emotionally expressive piece, as the key figure—John Lam on Sunday afternoon—is confined to one side of the stage while three couples engage in gestural movement on the other side. Lam is clearly the outsider who keeps trying to make his way over to where the couples are with his long, processed movements. The couples are costumed in matching pieces, each determined by a pale color of gray while Lam is see shirtless and in a red pair of pants. The range of music went well this piece as it started with a nature feel and quickly transcended into a futuristic feeling. The isolation of Lam with the harsh and dramatic lighting and the music evoked a feeling that the dancers were in a dystopian place.

“The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude” reveals Forsythe in a lighthearted balletic mood. The music is the final movement of Schubert’s “Great” Symphony in C major. The two men display power rather than precision to match the movement in the music while the three ladies dance gracefully and cheerfully on pointe. While the music and choreography was more on the traditional side, the costumes took a modern approach. The three ladies flying-saucer-like tutus were in a shade of green that only resembled olives while the boys donned purple velvet short one piece with no tights.

“The Concert”, which was created for New York City Ballet in 1956, pays homage to Chopin with some jokes in between. The piano player gets into the act, having a dramatic entrance on to stage and taking his handkerchief to wipe the very dust keys of the piano. One by one, audience members assemble onto stage bringing his or her own wooden folding chair. Over the next half hour, the men handle the ladies as if they were mannequins, a group of ladies make a parody of “Les Sylphides”, and everyone eventually comes out pretending to be butterflies.

This collaboration was the right amount of serious dancing and downright hilarious pieces that I have seen at the Boston Ballet. “The Concert” ended and the entire audience was filled with laughter leaving the theater.

A&EAnnie Loppert