A feeling of joy, un moto di gioia. Not what you expect from Anne Teresa DeKeersmaeker, the Belgian choreographer known for highly structured, often angst-ridden dance. But joyous it feels when the avant-gardista and her company bring the lighthearted Mozart/Concert Arias to Mostly Mozart. The lavish production explores the trials of men and women in love—with 10 dancers in Dangerous Liaisons garb, a baroque orchestra, three singers, and a Schönbrunn Palace-inspired custom parquet floor. For DeKeersmaeker, the music is always sovereign. She created the piece because “I was interested in the way theater and music come together in Mozart’s operas. . . . Even in the moments of greatest distress and despair, in his music there is still love.”
There is celebration too; the singers onstage whisper, flirt, and even join the dancers. With each aria DeKeersmaeker creates a mini-drama, some taken from Mozart’s biography, as in “Ch’io mi scordi di te,” where the composer mourns a departed lover. With such disparate influences as Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, mute language, and 18th-century court dance, she marries intricate release-driven partnering with sublime lyricism. Dancers spontaneously burst into sobs, sigh, and swoon, and occasionally just rock out, disco-style, to glorious music, all in the name of love.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 17, 2004