Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Mentors & Prodigy If you missed last weekend's Rita-truncated run of Houston Ballet's Mentors & Prodigy, you may have missed the best -- and worst -- the company offers this season. The rep bill featured three contemporary one-act ballets, starting with Brian Enos's world premiere of Dark and Lovely, Mmmm. The Houston-trained Enos, who's now with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, shows vision and promise, but his choreographic chops aren't up to the standards one expects from an HB performance. At best, the work was derivative. At worst, when shown side-by-side with two choreographic greats, it was just plain boring. The second work, the company's premiere of Jirí Kylián's brilliant 1981 Forgotten Land, was powerful and provocative, invoking the ancient struggle of man against nature. Recent Rita experiences aside, Forgotten Land is a forceful addition to the company's repertory. Set to a thunderous score by Benjamin Britten and performed against a painted backdrop of darkening skies, the dancers hurled themselves through the steps with lightning speed and flawless precision. Deeply emotional to watch, this work reminds us why Kylián is a master of movement. And so did the closing dance, Stanton Welch's Divergence, remind us why he is now the company's artistic director. Divergence is one of those gems of contemporary ballet that thrills with ensemble staging and intricate partnering. The provocative costumes and Michelin-tire tutus are inspired but not necessary. When it comes to dancemaking, the difference between talent and greatness is all in the steps. Even if the Kylián and Welch pieces had been performed butt-nekkid under a bare light bulb, they would have been amazing.

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