Getting through the doldrums: ballet at the Joyce

In New York, the end of summer can be a dull time, as if heat has melted away all the grease and the fabulous machine were slowly grinding to a halt. But parts of it always keep turning. A couple of examples come quickly to mind. At the Signature Theatre, a new Annie Baker play recently began previews, and on August 4 the Joyce Theater, reprising a programming idea from two summers ago, will launch a two-week ballet festival. I don’t see nearly as much dance as I’d like, but at least two names on the Joyce schedule are familiar.

Ashley Bouder strikes me as possibly the most kinetic woman among New York City Ballet’s principal dancers. She’s frequently occupied with NYCB work and guest appearances, but—to borrow a word that Wendy Whelan recently applied to herself—Bouder has a restless spirit, and she has arranged to appear in a set of dances, all of them either New York or world premieres, that will be presented at the Joyce on August 8 and 9. This appears to be the first New York appearance by a collaborative venture that Bouder launched last year, which has previously performed in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Kelowna, British Columbia; that project’s website is here.

Emery LeCrone is a young choreographer who has been very prolific. She’s adept at the intricacies of contemporary music; in 2011 she set a piece to an Elliott Carter score for a Guggenheim program. And she sometimes hits on daring ideas; in 2014, for another Guggenheim program, she set the same Bach partita twice. A few years ago, I took a look at some of her work from the standpoint of drama. This isn’t the ideal perspective for dance, but my theater background makes it easier to see things that way, and LeCrone’s work isn’t devoid of personal or social notes. You can find that piece here. Though the Joyce website gives little information on her program, a recent post on the Oberon’s Grove blog suggests that LeCrone will be presenting the classical part of that Bach partita, with two of its original cast members, as well as three other works. Her presentation runs August 13 and 14.

The Joyce Theater web page for the festival is here.

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