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The year in review 2006


Best of 2006

Critic: Mae G. Banner

1. Tero Saarinen Company with Boston Camerata

Jacobís Pillow, July 23

Tero Saarinen Companyís Borrowed Light was a radiant work from conception to execution. Every element: movement, music, costumes (sweeping black robes, heavy square-heeled shoes), and especially, the changing shafts of holy light conjoined to reveal the essence of Shaker life and thought. The audience left exalted.

Buddha goes to math class: Shen Wei Dance Arts.

2. Shen Wei Dance Arts

Jacobís Pillow, Aug. 13

Mathematics and Zen Buddhism joined in two mesmerizing group dances from this Chinese ensemble. The androgynous dancers flowed over the stage like a rising tide, swelling and receding.

3. New York City Balletís Russian Seasons

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, July 18

Director of the Bolshoi Ballet and virtual king of NYCBís 2006 Diamond Project, Alexei Ratmansky brought Russian soul out of these usually cool dancers, notably Jenifer Ringer, Sophiane Sylve and Wendy Whelan. Simple tunics in bright paintbox colors and deep-rooted songs traced a cycle of love, marriage, and death in a peasant village.

4. Battleworks Dance Company

Skidmore Dance Theater, Feb. 11

Propulsive, sometimes feral dancing about urban life, plus Flock, a tour de force that lays bare the soul of a doubting priest as he flagellates his congregation.

5. [bjm danse]

The Egg, Oct. 27

Artistic director Louis Robitaille of the group formerly known as Ballet Jazz de Montreal had the wit to commission fellow Canadian Aszure Barton for a premiere, Les chambres des Jacques, in which she pulls forward the unique strengths of every dancer. Barton creates a loopy wedding from rags and tatters of costumes and an amazing pastiche of music, including Vivaldi, Celtic songs from Brittany, and the Cracow Klezmer Band. Many half-hidden stories emerge.

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