Eventually Macy and Wald disappear into darkness and are replaced with another couple, Leah Terada and Miles Pertl. They also showcase their strength and willowy-ness in a similar pas de deux.
Cerrudo choreographs with an exquisite vocabulary and admirable vulnerability. Breathy and synchronized, one move becomes the next and one person becomes the other. He builds a beautiful reciprocating movement not in the way contact improv is sometimes too forceful but more like two drops of water continuously spilling over each other, never quite dissolving.
Last is Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Named after the music, Modest Mussorgsky’s incredibly popular and recognizable suite of ten pieces, the dance achieves a charm matching the score.
Inspired by a walk through an art gallery, the choreography, sets, and costumes all echo the music perfectly. Mussorgsky originally composed the score in response to his friend Viktor Hartmann’s artwork although the set does not include any of his works. Projected across the backdrop is Wassily Kandinsky’s whimsical painting Color Study Squares with Concentric Circles, designed by Wendall K. Harrington. Costumes by Adeline André reflect the whimsy with bright colors and sheer overlays.
This piece was recorded live in 2017 and as always, it is refreshing to hear the audience and see the stage as one might from a creaky velvet-covered auditorium seat. To dance Pictures (and really any Ratmansky work) one must be ready to dance wide with a horizontal strength and the dancers deliver by moving with daring gusto and making bold choices.
The women’s quartet and the men’s quintet were most interesting. The tribe of women danced like exclamation marks and the men a group of kids in a tree house. Ratmansky is a master of canons and the asymmetry in this piece is just so pleasing although he tends to rely on “peasant dancing” commonly found in the older classical story ballets. Sometimes they work in his abstract pieces, sometimes not. This one works and makes for a playful experience.
Throughout, Ratmansky matches the movements to the music beginning with a startling brightness, reaching a deep low, and then a strong, fervent push to end it. If it is possible to build momentum atop momentum, Ratmansky does.
PNB’s Rep 4 triple bill is nostalgic, sublime, and flirtatious. A true mixed program, it has a bit of everything and maybe when you see a glimmer of your reflection on the screen, a bit of you.