It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since Ellen Sinopoli had the crazy notion of forming a modern dance company in this region. But indeed she did.
And despite a desperately ailing economy at the time, Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company has not only survived, but it has thrived, adding much to the cultural cache of the region.
To celebrate this accomplishment, the company unveiled two new works on Friday night at The Egg. Making the evening more special was the presence of guest artist/violinist/composer Cornelius Dufallo.
While the performance was not the best seen from the company, it did remind us all of how lucky we are to have ESDC.
For one thing, Sinopoli has always extends her hand to other artists from whom she drinks rich inspiration, thus making the experience of a Sinopoli performance a more luscious one.
Surely, Dufallo’s presence and his layered music heightened the pleasant aura of Sinopoli’s new “A Gathering in Red, Departing.”
The piece is a tumble, an excursion that tosses its players in a burgeoning tide. The dancers, in red, begin slowly and quietly.
As the intensity of the music builds, the dancers toss about, as if pulled by unseen forces.
There are moments of quiet, such as when Melissa George looks like a gull in flight surveying the land or sea. But this serenity dissolves quickly in a churning that overrides any sense of calm.
Oddly, the dance remains temperate and aloof. This is an obstacle that often trips up Sinopoli. Despite her vision, passion and artistry, and support from her fellow artists, it’s often difficult for her to move beyond concept to grab the heart of her viewer.
Her second premiere, “Blue(s),” strikes an earthy tone. It’s down home, hoedown feel, lends it the humanistic quality that makes it the better of the two new works.
While the violin prelude feels too lengthy, the remainder of the dance skips and spins as a juicy delight. The floppy duet with Andre Robles and Jennifer Yackel, in which they drag each other about, stands out for the connection these two forge.
Equally terrific is the quartet of women, Yackel, George, Sara Senecal and the incomparable Laura Teeter slinking around as one spicy unit. The finale, with music by Muddy Waters, is one joyous explosion.
The evening also included George at her most elegant and charming in “The Walk” as well as a revival of the exuberant hit “Selchie” and the tortured “Into Dark Moods.”
All three of these works demonstrate that Sinopoli possesses a sensitive and observant soul, even though she might fear to unleash its full force.
Here’s to hoping that the next 20 years inspire more unbridled and uncensored creations from Sinopoli and her troupe of glorious dancers.