‘Remembrance/Hereafter’ Atlanta Ballet’s “Black Swan” offers mixed bag of modern, traditional

Craig Davidson’s piece, Remembrance/Hereafter, was commissioned by Atlanta Ballet and set to a live performance of Franz Schubert’s Quartet No. 14, “Death and the Maiden.” It allowed the ensemble to move with unearthly grace and a clarity that was as refreshing as it was captivating. Davidson carefully crafted a work with pronounced attention to Schubert’s score, bridging the sections with effortless transitions, seamlessly delivering the audience from one idea to the next.

A hanging garden, sculpted into three overlapping geometric shapes by Kate Venables, evoked triumphal arches from ancient Roman churches. The dominant horizontal strip of white light on the apricot colored scrim gradually ascended along with the sculpture, taking our eyes toward the heavens, grounding the piece in the idea that something greater lies beyond.

Women costumed in eggplant. floral dresses tossed their limbs and spiralled into and out of the arms of their male partners with the buoyancy of silk. The men, who mostly carried the women, had their most evocative moments in the second section of the work. Here they changed though the space in quick bursts of energy, diving into the air as though gravity reversed itself.

Particularly captivating were Jessica He, Ari Igarashi and Erica Alvarado, who blossomed in the second section. Behind the dimly lit scrim, dancers moved through a misty grey environment, appearing and disappearing in various postures, held high above a partner’s upstretched arms.They were figures in a moving photograph who cam to three-dimensional life when the scrim was lifted – they were ghosts of loved ones, now briefly visible in the flesh. Although the fundamental through-line felt thin, the piece concluded with a euphoric return of the sculpture, ecstatic movement and mesmerizing, unison partnering.

 

By George Staib of ArtsATL.