East Hampton Star

In Soft Moon, with its haunting score by Bruce Wolosoff, Christine McMillan was a mysterious creature of the night, skimming the stage in bourrees.

Rebecca Kelly's choreography isn't "modern ballet," like Antony Tudor's. And it's not "crossover ballet," as this was understood in the 1970s, pairing ballet dancers as performers with Judson-style moderns as choreographers. Tree, Kelly comes out of modern dance, and her company, which since 1992 has been known as Rebecca Kelly Ballet, began as a modern dance group a dozen years before. But like a growing number of choreographers, she has chosen to work with ballet dancers and to create what the program calls "contemporary ... ballets performed on pointe," even as she retains the distinctive company model of modern dance.

The dozen dancers of Kelly's present company come from as many backgrounds and are versed in a number of idioms. This diversity is often a plus: there is a range of physical types and energies, and an unusual degree of individuality in the way each dancer moves--the speed and attack of one, the articulate upper body of another, the nice, tight fifth of a third, the charismatic presence of a fourth. Tree, the footwork could have been a little cleaner and the pointe work more refined. But then, they're not dancing Giselle.

What they are dancing are ballets like Telemann, a premiere, which did not pose huge technical demands, although it did require them to use the full resources of the ballet idiom, including the beaten steps and modest lifts that many contemporary choreographers avoid. In Soft Moon, with its haunting score by Bruce Wolosoff, Christine McMillan was a mysterious creature of the night, skimming the stage in bourrees.

Scores of choreographers have taken on Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, but Kelly is one of the few who have jettisoned the original ballet's Slavic background and theme of virgin sacrifice. Conceived as a modern dance piece, her version, Dream Driven, is a series of vignettes linked by the theme of female eroticism and victimization. To the mounting furies of the music, her protagonists are stripped and sent to madhouses, surrounded by creatures of nightmare, violated by half-naked men in black or red--always unable to escape. As the Lover in the bedroom scene, Gregory King was thrillingly erotic, while Julie Hebb struggled mightily, if unsuccessfully, to still her demons. Donna Marxer's simple but imaginative decors seemed to carve the stage into modules of dream space. Fifteen years old, Dream Driven still has emotional punch.

 
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