Strength and Longing
February 20, 2016
Angel Corrella’s four part piece “Strength and Longing” was emotional and very unusual due to the fact that all pieces were extremely different from each other. I saw the afternoon performance on February 6, 2016 at the Merriam Theater. It was absolutely spectacular. The performance consisted of four ballets, each unique and touching in its own way. First I saw “Without Words,” which was choreographed by Nacho Duato. It was an overall amazing piece about what seemed like several stories about lost lovers and was very dramatic. Next was “Chutes and Ladders,” choreographed by Justin Peck. This one was again a love story but very upbeat. What came next was probably my favorite piece. It was called “For Four,” choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and it was a work of pure art. The next and last piece was the definition of a grand finale and it was titled “N.Y Export: Opus Jazz,” cheoreoghed by Jerome Robbins. This piece was much more sassy, and dripping with attitude from the moments the curtains were raised, but in the most light-hearted way possible.
Although all pieces were very amazing, the one that left its biggest mark on me would be “For Four” This piece stunned me because it was very much unlike the others. In the other performances I noticed an emerging pattern of romance working its way into the mix. In “For Four,” though, it was four men dancing and kind of competing, in my opinion, but not for someone’s love. It was as if they were competing to see whose personality made them the best. Although they were all wearing identical outfits, the colors were what made them unique. The first dancer was in red and next came green, then a kind of brownish color, then it ended with a dancer wearing navy blue. In the beginning of the performance they were all dancing together but then the background changed from the neutral yellow color that matched the dancer who was dancing at the time. Also the music played a part in how they expressed their personality, for example the dancer in the brownish colored costume was dancing to very fast tempoed dramatic music and one could tell he played no games; he was serious and wanted to get through with this and claim his rightful place as the best. As each performer danced alone it seemed as though they were letting out their personality, but then the other dancers would come out as well, and before the next dancer would get their shot at a solo they had another competition.
“For Four” had such a great part in this performance. I find it amazing that one of the parts was actually choreographed for the artistic director himself, and he was the one teaching the part that was originally created for him. It piques my interest as to which dancer would have been him. All and all, this performance is one I will never forget because each piece affected me in a different way and had a different message.
Class of 2017
Esperanza Cyber Charter School
Strength and Longing
February 20, 2016
Hosted at the Merriam Theater, the performance of Strength and Longing opened with an ambiguous, classical piece titled “Without Words”. It explained the title through precise movement and matching facial expressions. Juxtaposed behind the dancers, typically in a set of three, the black backdrop allowed the delicate, but fierce dancers to be vulnerable. It was sleek, but not distracting. Vulnerable, because with their flesh colored costumers every spin, leap, and twirl was to be especially analyzed by the audience. That is emphasized by the music, conducted by Beatrice Jona Affron, one of the few women to lead a successful orchestra. Nacho Duato’s chamber music was first nostalgic, with hints of morose, then suspenseful, graduating towards gleeful, and ended neutral with a tone of acceptance. The Pennsylvania Dance Company dancers and music worked in artistic mutualism; both benefitting and taking clues from one another. Neither took the attention off of the other. Though there was that unity, the focus was definitely on two dancers: A woman and a man. The man, almost urging and desperate was the ‘Longing’ and the women, reluctant and steadfast, was the ‘Strength.’ The man kept his eyes on the woman, his arms always open, while she covered her face and danced away from him. The distance between the duets followed the music: wanting, dejected, uncertainty, and finally trustful as the show ends with the woman being carried off by the man. That is the synthesis of Strength of Longing.
February 6, 2016
Pennsylvania Ballet: “Strength & Longing”
Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley and Corps de Ballet Member Craig Wasserman
Photo By: Alexander Iziliaev
A big big thank you!
On February 6, 2016, the Pennsylvania Ballet presented “Strength and Longing,” a ballet performance that brings an emotional journey to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
The program consisted of four ballets held at the famous Merriam Theater that blew the audience right off their seats and into a standing ovation. The first ballet performance, “Without Words”, choreographed by Nacho Duato, was an intense and engaging ballet to watch. The six dancers were dressed in simple nude outfits that matched perfectly along with the slow and melodious music Franz Schubert composed. The stage was not too small or too big, but the perfect size for each couple to dance and spread apart along with the perfect amount of lighting. From the moment the first two dancers appeared till the bow with all six dancers, I found my eyes and ears locked on the stage, with different emotions running through my head — from sad, to intense, from intense, to heart touching. The dim lighting with the simple outfits along with the music was a combination that gave the audience a comforting feeling.
As each performer showed his or her bold movements, the expression remained just about the same throughout: serious. We could see the strength from each performer’s ability to twirl and spin and jump on the point of their toe. As they exposed their ability to move dauntlessly, they showed that despite mistakes through life, they must get up and keep going, even if it means to gain help from another. The “strength” represented the women who provided assistance to the men, who were “longing” and remained committed to their significant other.
The performers’ five weeks of nonstop practice for this ballet at Philadelphia paid off as the audience was simply amazed at each performance for their ability to dance. From my experience, this performance pulled at my heart strings in ways that only one can understand if he or she experiences it his or herself.
Review by: Oyin Adetola
Class of 2017
First Philadelphia Prep Charter School
“Without Words” is a ballet choreographed by Nacho Duato with music from Franz Schubert. It is the first of the four ballets that is included in the collection Strength and Longing that I watched on February 6th, 2016. It was performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet in the Merriam Theater.
This ballet was about a woman who is longing for someone she can not have and a man who is in love with her. He has to be strong and continue to support her, hence the overall title Strength and Longing.
While there were only a few people on stage during the ballet, the dancers covered the stage it with their large movements. The scarceness of props and their clothes, which were plain in color, contributed to and really brought in the feeling of loss and longing. The stage’s lack of porps also made it possible for us to be transported to a world not far or too different from our modern day own.
Schubert’s chamber music fits well with the performance. The relation of movement and unique motifs in the score in this performance is remarkably complex in both structure and detail. Both music and dancer almost seem to blend into each other. It was also as if the music was made for the performance (which it was not). The piece does not depend solely on the dancing but on both the music and dancers. The music was very lyrical and soft but very strong, the movements were sharp and precise. And the dancing included gorgeous leaps and beautiful turns. Even though different groups of dancers came on and off the stage, the wholeness of the piece was never lost. The dancers moved in sync and were aware of each other and seemed to be comfortable on stage. The stage acted as an extension of the dancers. They moved around the stage freely and seemed to [new word here] every spot on the floor.
The stage was all black, which included the backdrop, curtain and floor, with a spotlight pointed to the dancers. During the performance the viewer connects with the characters- wishing the woman would let the man in and wishing the man would get the woman. When the show is over you are left reeling and might even have to steady yourself from the emotional rollercoaster you have just gone through.
The piece is truly beautiful and touches viewers on an emotional level. I personally enjoyed this piece and recommend it to everyone. If you are a first time attendee to the ballet or you have already seen hundreds, this performance is not one you want to miss.