Bachtrack (Love and Loss)

Creative highs are Locally Sourced in Seattle

By: Philippa Kiraly, 11 November 2019

…Byrd chose to provide no programme notes for his Love and Loss. It spoke for itself. While Stone’s work emphasised the female dancers, Byrd’s was notable for showcasing one after another of PNB’s male dancers, in which the company has for years been very strong, several of the performers still corps members. In four movements, to music composed by Byrd’s frequent collaborator, Emmanuel Witzthum, Byrd explored the feelings engendered by love and loss in all their relationship aspects. The music, which had no rhythm but moved slowly from one harmony to another, could have been no help to the dancers’ movements, instead being backdrop to the emotions portrayed.

Lucien Postlewaite’s painful anguish in movement to his reaching out to Leta Biasucci like a lifeline, from their eye-lock to her departure, riveted the attention near the start. Different feelings, different attitudes from the tumultuous to the light-hearted ensued with different couples, sometimes a sense of waiting or wondering, one woman playing two men, two men together.

It was a marvel of constant illustrative movement, with glacially slow walking times to or from a relationship, the women on pointe gliding in or around the men. The dancers used all they had to show these emotions, from slow lifts, some difficult requiring controlled strength by both partners, to slight head or hand gestures which changed a mood, to frenetic agony of despair. Byrd worked with three assistants, plus costume designer Doris Black and Randall G. Chiarelli for scenic and lighting design, while Josh Archibald-Seiffer conducted a small group of musicians. The work is a masterpiece.




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