Mae G. Banner
Pillow, Becket, Mass., June 23
Pillow eased into their 74th summer with dances that poured
like honey, thick and gleaming, performed by CND2, back for
their third outing at this fresh-air festival.
formed in 1999, is the touring company of Nacho Duato’s Madrid-based
Compania Nacional de Danza. These 14 fluid dancers aged 17-23
are not afraid to bend their balletic bodies low, to kneel
and even to pivot on their shapely bottoms when Duato’s choreography
calls for such un-classical moves.
of three ensemble dances—two for dance’s sake and one with
a political thrust—opened with Duato’s Remansos, to
piano music of Enrique Granados. Originally made for the American
Ballet Theatre, this skein of duets, expanded for CND2, was
premiered by them in 2006. The three couples—Gabriela Gomez
with Joaquin Crespo, Anjara Ballesteros with Kenji Matsuyama,
and Kayoko Everhart with Jon Vellejo—flowed or sprang through
the vivid passages, enlarging the legato or staccato qualities
of the music.
were allusions to court dance, but within an acrobatic frame
filled with surprising shapes and fast changes. In one duet,
Ballesteros lies on her back and Matsuyama peddles her legs
like a wheel. In another, Everhart slants away from a rock-steady
Vallejo and he pulls her back smoothly in a partnership of
passages for three women and three men slide into a finale
featuring a long-stemmed red rose and a back-screen that changes
from white to deep red. In the final image, Vallejo, the rose
in his teeth, is splayed upside down against the screen, the
other two men anchoring him there.
d’Ingres (2005) is not about the painter. Rather, it is
a French expression for a pastime or hobby. Not a serious
hobby, judging from the throwaway choreography of Tony Fabre,
who is co-artistic director of CND2. Fabre has stitched together
bits of music by Bach, Paganini, Grieg, Farina, Vivaldi and
Saint-Säens for a dance of quick sketches with scarcely a
beat between them.
are light-hearted bits, almost like doodling with a pastel
crayon. They are set against a surreal prop that I finally
figured out represented the neck of a giant violin laid on
the ground. With flippy steps, a woman tapped a man on the
shoulder, awakening him to twisty moves as he grinned like
a gargoyle. And so, the fun began.
was a dance of moments marked by quick shifts, curling bodies,
and gymnastic turns all for the pleasure of moving. The most
sustained part was a giddy passage for three couples to Grieg’s
Anitra’s Dance, punctuated by nice lifts and feet that
seemed to giggle.
of Duato’s work is in an expressive European tradition that
acknowledges the power of dance to speak without words. CND2’s
final dance, Rassemblement, a 1990 work which they
first danced in 2005, had something to say.
Haitian French songs by Toto Bissainthe, it told of deep emotions
and deep troubles. Five women and five men moved like living
murals on a damp wall. They took wide stances, traveled the
ground with bent backs, did heavy two-footed jumps. Their
movements, sweeping, muscular, earthy, spoke of labor, love,
and worship, and of fear and stony persistence in the face
a tall, rangy dancer, lay curled on the ground at stage right
while three women knelt at what seemed to be the water’s edge,
perhaps working, perhaps mourning the fallen man. When the
women exited, the man raised his body and moved stealthily
sideways—a man in hiding and in pain. Two soldiers suddenly
appeared and jerked Vallejo to a second death, to be mourned
again by the sound of wailing women.
women with big squares of red cloth entered in slow unison,
and, together, they raised their arms and made a red curtain
to shield the downed man. He rose (but, with a bent back)
and danced a slow, sensuous duet with one of the women, lifting
her with stiff arms that didn’t really hold her.
and the dance gained in power as the dancers traveled on their
knees, sweating and striving, yet with rough lyricism. Simplicity
and intensity built to a compelling climax and the cry of