Cisne Negro, from Sao Paulo (the name means black swan in Portuguese), seizes a viewer’s attention with its high-octane athleticism. Repose seems anathema to these daring dancers as they depict—in Patrick Delcroix’s Cherché, Trouvé, Perdu—four angry, depressed pairs way beyond the help of couples therapy. The same relentless energy takes ecstatic form in Vasco Wellencamp’s Cânticos Místicos (to blaringly mic’d excerpts from Handel’s Messiah). This piece contains several semi-abstract images that go right to the heart of the matter, many a pretty moment that confuses sentiment with deep feeling, and an unfortunate desire to cater to the dancers’ inner athlete that just about defines the company’s aesthetic. Rings, by Dany Bittencourt, a program-closer probably meant to soothe and beguile, offered jazz- and samba-inflected antics involving wedding bands, hoops, and overwrought costumes. The Joyce audience indicated, as it dependably does, that it was vastly entertained by the whole program.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 22, 2005