ADF: Ballet Preljocaj

Ballet Preljocaj. Photo:©JC Carbonne.

Ballet Preljocaj. Photo:©JC Carbonne. The Durham production features other dancers.


The seriously wonderful French company Ballet Preljocaj takes the stage again tonight as the American Dance Festival continues at the Durham Performing Arts Center. A few people walked out, but most of the audience was amazed and delighted by the first-anywhere performance of the full suite of Angelin Preljocaj’s Empty Moves, parts I, II, III. It fascinates on many levels, and the dancing is very fine.

Before the performance last night, Angelin Preljocaj accepted the 2014 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, with its “Sammy” statuette and $50,000 check. He slipped between the curtains and up to the microphone in a slim-cut gray French suit and white sneakers, looking like an elf from a modern fairytale. After noting his gratitude to a various people, he looked up at the audience and said: “to see the list [of former reward recipients] was amazing…all those people were heroes to me!” Then he coyly thanked his mother and slipped back through the red velvet, all through talking. He reappeared during the extended ovation after the dance, to kiss and hug his dancers. They deserved it.

From my review was published June 12, 2014 on with the title “A Suave Mousse of Motion: Ballet Preljocaj at ADF.”

July 11 marked the first US presentation of Empty Moves, part III (2014), and the first anywhere of the entire sequence (part I, 2004; part II, 2007). There’s nothing empty about it. It is empty the way a Zen tea bowl is empty—it holds everything. However, Empty Moves is abstract, it is an abstract of something greater. Its 90 minutes of flow illuminated onstage is not really extracted from the great flow of motion and words that goes on forever and ever, amen.

Read the full review here.


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