A new vocabulary
Imagine you opened up a book, and the first page had only one word:
You don’t know how to pronounce it, of course. You don’t know what language it is in, if any. And yet, you not only somehow know what it means, but what it makes you feel–for it causes deep emotion in you.
That’s what last night at the Smuin Ballet was for me. The curtain went up, the dancers came onstage, and somehow I knew they were communicating with me in a language I don’t speak. My eyes saw and my heart felt, devoid of words or explanation. The piece, Soon These Two Worlds, was choreographed by Amy Seiwert and set to Pieces of Africa, commissioned for and performed by the Kronos Quartet. Innovative costuming and lighting completed a performance that leaves me speechless to adequately describe.
Their next piece was Medea, created by founder Michael Smuin in 1977 for the SF Ballet. It is an incredibly powerful piece, telling the emotional tale of Medea slaying her husband’s lover and her own two sons when he rejects her for a new love. Wildly erotic at times, Medea struck me as a transitional piece in the history of ballet–although clearly modern, it retains much of classical ballet in it dance forms. Robin Cornwell is a brilliantly malevolent Medea, and Matthew Linzer is her tragically love-smitten and ruined husband, Jason.
Closing the show is Smuin favorite Fly Me to the Moon. You’ve got Sinatra, fabulous dancers, beautiful costuming and innovative choreography. What else is there to say? We all left the theater singing I won’t dance.
The Smuin Ballet. At the Lesher Center this weekend.