Choré Shines At Segerstrom Center
Written By: Robyn Wyman-Dill Poetry In Motion: Choré at Segerstrom Hall
On Feb. 12-13, 2016, Choré marked the first abstract work of choreographer and director Jean-Christophe Maillot, and it is an artistic masterpiece enriched by expressive collaborations from international talents. The list of luminaries at Segerstrom Hall’s 2015-2016 International Dance Series includes Maillot with his company of world-class dancers; Danny Elfman, John Cage and Philippe Guillotel, the innovative and playful costume designer. Les Ballets De Monte-Carlo is under the Presidency of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, more popularly-known as Princess Stephanie, daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
Choré examines dance in America and the political eras that shaped the practice. Within a tapestry of time, art becomes partners in a pas a deux of reality checks to ground, liberate and shape musical theatre. With dance as its dialogue, it inspires the audience to think about what makes us move.
The 90-minute, multi-layered performance is presented in five sequences to illustrate our “world of opposites” during 1929-1960. Splendor and Miseries, Silent! Action!, War is Declared, and Landscape of Ashes serve as windows in time to view how our nation and dance evolved, making the audience recognize how constraints are part of the backbone of pushing boundaries. Sketches by graphic artist M.C. Escher, famous for his constructions in works like Ascending and Descending and Sky and Water or Reptiles, become the floorboards for the dancers to move between heaven and earth. In the final sequence, “after dance, there is yet more dance.” The world of gray scale and monochromatics are replaced with a rainbow of colors that resonate with a joyous symbol of optimism that dance is still a vital artery in a world of change.
“It is not just one person. I am here to support the artist’s vision and that takes a team, ” says Judy Morr, Segerstrom’s Executive Vice President. “When we first started the dance series, our program was focused on more well-known, classic ballets like the Nutcracker. It wasn’t until we were about five years into it that we felt our audiences was ready to welcome more choices in musical theatre and that’s when we broadened our program to include both traditional ballets and modern dance.”
Irvine audiences eager for artistry and the avant-garde embrace the dance series year after year as performance dance continued to evolve into popular culture. Which makes it a pleasure for world-class dance companies who excel at artistry to perform here. This is the Ballets’ third visit to the center.
“It’s quite an adventure on both sides.” Morr shares. “Some of the dancers have never been here before and find they really like the California coastal lifestyle. In terms of the audience, they have to be willing to take the journey with us, and fortunately, we’re very lucky with our audience that have that California mentality of openness to try new things.”
The Dance Series continues, April 6-10 with the return of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.