Fitting the Shoe

New Cinderella Comes to Town, and Old Gems Shine

Limón's great 1949 The Moor's Pavane seems timeless by virtue of its masterful structure and magnificently expressive choreography. At the Joyce, it shines despite Jonathan Riedel's strangely flaccid Iago. Kimiye Corwin and Roxane d'Orleans Juste give luminous portrayals of Desdemona and Emilia. Ruvalcaba (Othello) has grown greatly since he joined the company. Looking not unlike Limón and a lot like John Travolta, he was, from the beginning, a candidate for leading roles. His torso at times still doesn't fully power his movements. Yet he's a vibrant Othello, carving up the space in his torment. He may well become a great one.

Two master dancers died on Easter weekend, Cholly Atkins and Bertram Ross, both in their eighties. Atkins was pushing 90 and had had a long career—tapping with the Rhythm Pals in vaudeville; choreographing and dancing for movies; devising moves for the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many other groups; teaming up with Honi Coles after World War II. The pair had style and chops to burn. Atkins came out of retirement in 1988 and shared a Tony as one of the choreographers of the Broadway revue Black and Blue. The title of his autobiography, Class Act, says it all.

Slippery slope: Maillot's version of Cinderella takes on New York.
photo: Richard Termine
Slippery slope: Maillot's version of Cinderella takes on New York.

Ross had been ill with Parkinson's for some time, yet not long ago he was still enjoying his second career—occasional appearances in cabaret with his partner, the witty singer-songwriter John Wallowitch. His most notable career, of course, was as a leading dancer in Martha Graham's company for 25 years. When Erick Hawkins left both the company and their marriage, Ross was the one Graham selected to replace him as Oedipus in Night Journey. The stunning, insinuatingly erotic solo with a cloak was in part his invention. A superb actor-dancer, he also took over, with distinction, Merce Cunningham's role in Appalachian Spring. Graham created many splendid parts for him, like St. Michael in Seraphic Dialogue and Agamemnon in Clytemnestra, and he partnered her onstage into her old age. Dance on, gentlemen.

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