The following are three different excerpts from three different reviews of Ailey II’s performance of Cuore Sott’olio at the Joyce Theater on March 20th. You can view a clip of the performance here.
Sydney Harris –
The stage was misty, pitch black, save one lone white light illuminating the stock-still dancers. Here, we witnessed the second piece in the Ailey II dance performance, this one titled “Cuore Sott’Olio“, choreographed by Katarzyna Skarpetowska and set to music by Alva Noto and Vincio Capolessa. At the beginning though, the music resembled electrogoth death metal thrumming. Seven dancers, men and women, huddled together on the dark stage. They were students of the Alvin Ailey dance school, so they had lean, muscular physiques and wore ’90s style skirts, loose shirts, and leggings in plain primary colors.
The mass of people began to undulate like a jellyfish with the pulsations of the music, and then a blonde woman broke off. She took slow, statically contrived steps towards one corner with a focused gaze. The others oozed together as one creature; if one so much as lifted a leg, the others followed suit. They flowed over each other, stepping, balancing, lifting- then the movements ended and the stage went dark.
Charlotte Chapman –
Dancers exit the stage and the girl in the short dress enters again. She faces the light with a blank expression. As she runs off stage, a girl and boy enter to romantic music and a blue background, looking as if they were in love with one another. The dancers’ intense look into each other’s eyes shows how in love they are with one another. As the music escalates, the couple appears more dependent on one another and finally the male chases the female off stage .
The girl reappears with a determined, masked look as she inches towards the spotlight. However, this time the light faces stage right and there is still static noise. She begins to crawl towards the light and after 30 seconds runs off. Another girl and boy enter, as the girl tries to get away from the boy who continuously tries to pull her back in. As the music escalates, the girl finally seems to give into the guy as they quickly, yet passionately kiss one another. As they kiss, they cross the stage in a waltz. They halt.
Thomas Laurel –
The following section repeats the same sequence where the woman walks towards the light, but this time she gets closer. She gets replaced again by two dancers who begin dancing to a very upbeat tango like music. The dancers make good use of the space of the stage using every bit of it as they slide on the floor or lay on it, or as they spin around or lift each other across it. They stay very close to each other and dance face to face, sometimes they are pressed against each other, they show a lot of intensity through their facial expressions and through a series of kicks and spins that occur during the dance. Their clothes and the background are a very passionate color of red. Moments would happen where they look into each other’s eyes then turn away very fast and it ends with the woman walking away from the man as he is left there with his hand sticking out to stop her from leaving.
To me it seemed as if these dances are portraying a story of a relationship. The woman walking at the beginning was walking through life, and the several dances that happen show the experiences that she goes through, the passion and the struggles.