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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Tempting Collaboration

Present Music and Danceworks ‘retelling’ of Stravinsky

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Danceworks Performance Company and Present Music joined forces for Temptation’s Snare, a retelling of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale with choreography by Dani Kuepper, direction by Jason Powell, and Julian Pellicano conducting the Present Music ensemble. Performances were held at Next Act Theatre on March 6-9; I attended the first performance.

This “retelling” paired sections of Stravinsky’s score with Histories (2012), a collaborative work by Brooklyn-based composer collective Sleeping Giant.

The evening-length work replaced C.F. Ramuz’s text with a new script written by Powell, who brought sparkling wit to the role of Satan. A comedic virtuoso par excellence, Powell was the highlight of the night.

Among other adaptations, Temptation’s Snare replaces the role of the soldier with a violinist, whose devotion to music has left her relationships and life-balance in disarray—a part danced with bittersweet grace and abandon by Christal Wagner. Sleeping Giant’s “Marionette” holds the most poignant moment in the work, as cooling musical slews melt into a devastating regret of time lost, when the violinist sees her fiancé with another woman.

Bold and vivacious, Temptation’s Snare is a fresh and engaging new piece of music, theater and dance, which anyone should want to experience again.