Dancer Felicia McPhee

Review: Springtime in Paris | Contemporary Ballet Dallas | Arts Mission Oak Cliff

Overboard in Paris

Contemporary Ballet Dallas assaults with too many dances in its Springtime in Paris program at the Latino Cultural Center.

published Wednesday, May 4, 2016
1 comment

Photo: Ken Smith
Dancer Felicia McPhee


Dallas —  Too much! Too much! Contemporary Ballet Dallas spit out dances in the “Springtime in Paris” program, viewed April 30 at the Latino Cultural Center, like loose nails, landing who knows where. The result was a bit of sensory overload, so when the fifth dance in just one section comes up, you have already forgotten what the second one was like.

Actually, this is a bit of hyperbole, since it was only the first work that had that effect: the remaining six were more straightforward. Addison Holmes’ Spring Time in Paris, Part I consisted of six segments, perfumed with a vaguely romantic air. Smart costumes of black and white and sad/happy music (how can you go wrong with “Ne me Quitte Pas” or Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”) promised a lot. Alas, the women danced with such caution that the emotional power of the music evaporated. Pointe work can be a bitch.

Springtime in Paris, Part II, fared better, if more uneven. It consisted of five segments, all but one by different choreographers. The oddest or maybe the sketchiest was Paula Ulery Reynolds’ L’Amour, performed by Ms. Reynolds and Shea Johnson. A street musician beguiles the newlywed Ms. Reynolds, but his hold on her is fleeting. With his easy leaps and devil-may-care attitude, Mr. Johnson exudes sex, making a perfect match for the equally sexy Ms. Reynolds. The lights dim, Ms. Reynolds pulls off the top of her shift; Mr. Johnson unbuttons his shirt, and the two slowly sink to the floor.

If only a trifle, at least L’Amour had something to convey.

Lisa Hess Jones’s Valse had an airy, dreamy quality, the movement like tendrils. Felicia McPhee piques prettily and then leaps off, like a puff of air. Valerie Shelton Tabor’s Chevalier Duet opens with Ms. Holmes and Jamie Thompson in a pool of light, their first encounter tentative, and by the end, he is swinging her high overhead.

Like a waif, Kayla Giard in filmy persimmon dress flits around the stage in Ms. Tabor’s Amélie, while Jennifer Areliano’s Coffee, for Ms. Reynolds, Lea Zablocki and Erin Boone, is all attitude. Chairs are meant for long legs to slice the air and the floor to slide and rebound.

The third work on the program, Ms. Jones In Time gave the company a chance to shine. Set to “Regarde Les Hommes Tomber” by Traffic Quintet, it was fast and sharp, all angles and quick turns.

Brian Stevens’ Without Sense was something of an oddity. In every encounter, lovers (Ms. Holmes and Trevor Wright) lose one of their senses. Hands go to mouth as they lose sense of taste; with hearing, a touch to the ears. And so it goes, with the couple looking bewildered. In their midst, three figures in black hover, offering nothing like hope, only recognition.

As for Ms. Holmes’s Man o Tu, my memory eludes me. I think it showed a sultry Ms. Zablocki slinking and strutting, but I am not sure.

Ms. Boone’s Ourselves – Forever Recreated made use of dramatic lighting for five dancers, while Mr. Thompson’s 3, showed off to great effect Mr. Thompson’s sinewy, flexible body. It was also a great showcase for the men (Mr. Thompson, Tom Kilps and Mr. Wright), and gave the whole cast that included eight women a chance to let loose.


» Margaret Putnam has been writing about dance since 1980, with works published by D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Playbill, Stagebill, Pointe Magazine and Dance MagazineThanks For Reading


Jacqueline Green writes:
Wednesday, May 11 at 10:40AM

"Pointe's a bitch"??? Really TheaterJones? What a highly inappropriate comment for a "professional" writer. Shame on you.

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Overboard in Paris
Contemporary Ballet Dallas assaults with too many dances in its Springtime in Paris program at the Latino Cultural Center.
by Margaret Putnam

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