Nijinsky’s Last Dance
Through Oct. 22
Laura E. Glover’s stunning lighting designs linked four fine dance-related performances at different venues this past week. Nijinsky’s Last Dance continues at the Phoenix Theatre through Oct. 22, including a special fund-raiser performance and event for Dance Kaleidoscope today at 7 p.m.
Dance Kaleidoscope’s Carmina Burana ran at the Indiana Repertory Theatre Oct. 12-15, with a cameo performance by Butler Chamber Dance. DK’s mini-matinee at noon on Oct. 12 included Butler Chamber Dance and Kenyetta Dance Company.
While Glover’s influence extends to Kenyetta through her mentorship of lighting designer Shanelle Shrader, her hands-on work for the other three underscores the abiding strength of production values seamlessly meshing with the director/choreographer’s intent and the actor/dancer’s interpretation. Glover draws her choices for hues, intensity and breadth from the subtext, becoming at-one within and on the surface with individuals and groupings. Her lighting is poignant for each moment and yet resonates beyond the moment, leading and lingering.
Ricardo Melendez is mesmerizing as Nijinsky in Norman Allen’s drama drawn from the dancer’s haunting memoir. In Rembrandt-like detailing of lush colors, Melendez and Glover birth a palette of characters to life within a spare setting from which Nijinsky emerges and into which he retreats as he recounts his star-studded, truncated life and career. It’s a tour de force.
On the other hand, Glover’s lighting is a combination of the elder and younger Brueghels for David Hochoy’s restaging of DK’s signature interpretation of Carl Orff’s titillating Carmina Burana. Framed by an Ecclesiastics-like lament and warning about the fickleness of fortune and fate, the central parts of the work evoke joyous anticipation of spring, lustfulness of summer and debauchery of fall with multiple toastings of freshly pressed wine. Impending winter brings back gloom and doom and stern warnings against over-indulgence and sensuality. While supplying the words of the songs in the printed program could increase audience enjoyment, this company’s plumbing of the meaning is definitely more able than even the lauded previous productions to show the irreverent, bawdy side of monastic-medievalists. The greater wonder is in dancing so well in costumes designed to restrict and restrain the merriment and abandonment.
Mozart is paired with a Rubens-like spirit and vivacity for the lighting of Cynthia Pratt’s choreography for Butler Chamber Dance. 1st of 3 in 17 is notes coming alive. Dancers’ perpetual motion and speed are awash in the visualization of colors and sound.
Dance is alive in Indianapolis when one weekend can transform text and music to moving movement.
Call 317-635-7529 for Nijinsky’s Last Dance; call 317-940-6555 for fund-raiser tickets, or log onto www.phoenixtheatre.org.