Tales Retold

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American Ballet Theatre
City Center
581-1212
Through October 31

Limón Dance Company
Joyce Theater

Lyon Opera Ballet
BAM Harvey Theater

Compagnie Pierre Droulers
Danspace St. Mark's

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Pierre Droulers's De l'air et du vent opens the New Europe Festival currently rampaging through Downtown spaces. This French choreographer has assembled intriguing fragments, braided them together, and given them coherence through echoes and repetitions. One imagines he started by thinking of all the ways of construing air and depicting wind—as mundane as inflating a balloon, as witty as tall Stefan Dreher seemingly blown into a jacket someone holds up as he races by. Later, howling and showing claws, Dreher's hunted by colleagues armed with forks taken from a clothesline where they clank with Philippe Cam's tempestuous score. The set is by Thibault Vancraenenbroeck. Some scenes are touching: Thomas Hauert stands an arduously long time on the ball of one foot, making minute adjustments in response to invisible cur rents of air. There are some delicious effects, like the silver curtain that rises at the end and then drops, shimmering. No activity lasts long. Storms toss these people (including Carlos de Haro, Martine Lunshof, and Celia Hope Simpson) into impulsive dancing (little jabs and lopes, arms curling or swinging freely from the shoulders). Romance isn't an issue. They're like friendly children in a breezy playground, riding the air.

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