Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen? ~ Nietzsche
My second article featured in Buffalo, NY’s Artvoice publication. The first was published last March. See Shuffling Off to Buffalo.
A Few Firsts For Neglia Ballet
New works, Balanchine, and a son honors his father
In early October 1971, seven-year-old Sergio Neglia was in the audience for his father’s final performance. “It was a Sunday,” explains Sergio. “The next day he got on an airplane with nine other principal dancers from the Colon Theatre [the main opera house of Buenos Aires]. The plane went down and nobody survived.”
Nearly 40 years later, on May 14, during An Evening of Mixed Repertoire by Neglia Ballet Artists at the Rockwell Hall Performing Art Center, Sergio Neglia will finally step into the role of the Witch Boy. This title character, from the ballet by Jack Carter, is a role for which Sergio’s father, José Neglia, won great acclaim, including the Vaslav Nijinsky Prize from the International Dance Association and the gold star at the sixth International Festival of Dance in 1968. It is also the same role in which José last appeared.
I recently penned a preview of Romeo and Juliet for Neglia Ballet Artists, a Buffalo dance company. The article is now live at ArtVoice. Below is an excerpt:
Collaborators blend dance, music, and story to present Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet
Though Neglia Ballet premiered their Romeo and Juliet in 2008, this marks the first time it will be performed with live music. “There is no comparing a performance with live music to a performance with CD,” says Halt. “The actual sound of the music is so much richer.”
Indeed, the audience and the dancers are more keenly aware of the details of Prokofiev’s score, one of ballet’s most lush and lyrical orchestrations, in a performance with live musicians. “My favorite music is when Juliet has a moment of clarity before her tragic end and at that moment she resolves to do what she has to do. The melody of the bedroom pas de deux, the lovers’ farewell, is repeated but much stronger and somewhat desperate. For me it is the climax of the score,” observes choreographer Sergio Neglia, who is also the production’s Romeo.
Unlike other ballet narratives, which can have sketchy storylines and a variety of musical interpretations, Prokofiev provides a “roadmap” through Shakespeare’s very familiar plot. “The music tells me exactly what needs to happen in Romeo and Juliet,” says Neglia, who like Prokofiev, sticks closely to the original character-driven tragedy. Adds Halt, “Sergio is a great storyteller and is quite remarkable in conveying what he wants. When he demonstrates the character, he is the character.”
Neglia often takes on several of these roles almost simultaneously during his choreographic process, admitting that this can sometimes drive his cast crazy.
LehrerDance, on loan from Buffalo, New York last weekend for JCC of Houston’s 30th annual Dance Month celebration, didn’t have me at “hello.” But it only took until the “how are ya?” for choreographer Jon Lehrer’s musical and intuitive repertory and his plucky cast to ensnare me.
When a company is more than 1200 miles from home in an unfamiliar city for only two performances, it can feel like there’s only one chance to get it right. The dancers were perhaps shaking off some jitters in the opening moments of Iambus but the long and short was they seemed a bit stiff in a rendering of Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Grace.” They hit their stride with the energetic bounce of McFerrin’s “Kalimba Suite” but at the start of the company’s second offering, Loose Canon, I found myself uncertain about where my encounter with LehrerDance was headed. Continue reading LehrerDance Review: Buffalo Welcome to Roam in Houston Any Day