Keeping It Up

There Is Nothing Like a Pro

There's wit in Catterson's other premiere—it could be about a career, it could be about a life. But her daring choice of music—the arietta from Beethoven's late, great, heart-expanding Sonata in C Minor, op. 111—makes her little flurries of soft shoe, her mimed gestures of opening windows and stepping through, and the way she reaches up to gather armloads of air seem poignant and profound. She watches as others enter, also opening doors and climbing through windows. "Oh . . . just dancing," she informs a friend at the other end of an imaginary phone line, as the crowd leaps and clumps and waves goodbye to the rear wall. The dancers bow, elbowing one another out of the limelight, and disappear over the risers at the back while she shuts door after invisible door.

Croll's new Balkan Landscape merges her choreography with terrific folk dances and music by Zlatne Uste (under the direction of Michael Ginsburg). Croll creates elegant images related to the gentler side of Balkan folk dancing, like a pattern of four women running in pairs, with subtle rhythmic blips and foot quirks. But nothing can quite match the joy of 11 brass instruments and drums blasting you to heaven, or of watching a line of men—stout and skinny, young and graying—grasp one another's belts and whip through the tricky moves of the Kopanica in 11/16 meter, feet stamping and hopping, knees pumping faster than you'd believe reasonable. The audience couldn't wait to jam with them. Talk about the "Funky Chicken"!

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