Bench is a big shaggy dog of a piece; you watch beautiful people agonize and dance to beat the band, and occasionally fragments of meaning glint teasingly beneath the distracting, sometimes alluring surface. Pauses, upward glances, a return to the bench, green lighting, and the music’s “Kyrie” constitute the final “Lost Earth—A Prayer for Renewal.” I hope that the god it’s addressed to can interpret this nobly intentioned message better than I can.

Gen Hashimoto and Mariana Cardenas in "Bench"
Ben Hider
Gen Hashimoto and Mariana Cardenas in "Bench"

The program closes with Muller’s 2005 Momentum. I regret that—because of another commitment and an initial misunderstanding as to the length of the program (over two hours counting two intermissions and a late start)—I had to leave before it ended. It’s one of Muller’s propulsive, happy pieces. People in bright clothing bring a rhythmatized, busy-streets energy to their comings and goings, their show-off moments, and their jazzy encounters—all set to music by Yello. “Appropriate for ages 8 and up” says the press release. Nothing wrong with that. No puzzles here, just very fine dancing.

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