Dream On

What kind of a choreographer calls his company bopi's black sheep? When Kraig Patterson dances Tryst, a solo he made for Mikhail Baryshnikov, you think you have him figured out. He's bopi and those sheep rolled in one—mischievous, sweet, flirty, but with the nerve to take the second movement of a Bach concerto and just walk around to it, like some Chekhovian character enjoying his melancholy.

Patterson has grown into choreography bopping between two wildly disparate populations: the super pros of Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project and the students he teaches in the Barnard College Dance Department. Now he has his own company, but a consistent style is unlikely to take root in one with such wide-ranging tastes. Like Mark Morris, with whom he has memorably performed since 1987, Patterson dives into a piece of music and comes up with a palette of movements to fit. Wails, premiered at Barnard, starts off with a guttural lullaby billed as "Music of the Minority People of Taiwan." Wigged Michael Lomeka and Eden Mazer stomp around while Jennifer Howard roughly rocks the smaller Lanileigh Ting—occasionally administering a slap or picking a louse out of her fuzzy hairdo. Chance O's knock-me-down music, written and played live by the band Tortuga (the songs have lines like "I want to dissect your face"), makes dancers stick—vibrating—to the back wall, swim in a dreadful sea, and silently mouth off at one another. Y, made for White Oak, is as full of frail, shimmering complications as its music, Debussy's String Quartet in G Minor, Opus 10.


The National Ballet of Canada
City Center
October 6 through 11

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Brooklyn Academy of Music
October 6 through 11

bopi's black sheep
Context Studio Theater
October 1 through 4

Patterson falters at times (what was the significance of the mirror-cum-footstool in Y?). But he has a fine sense of what it means to design movement in space. One of Y's charms is its champagne-bubble complexity, while the clear, blocky pat terns in Wails turn the work into something much smarter than a cross-cultural joke.

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