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January 15, 2004

Ben & Company at the Joyce.

Just got back from The Joyce Theater. What a show! Ben Munisteri is a wonderful choreographer, and has an excellent group of dancers performing pieces set to an extremely eclectic, and wonderful, selection of music.

Ben Munisteri Dance Projects (oh, by the way Danica is the one being lifted in the large image on the linked page) presented five pieces. All were wonderful but three really stood out for me—Smash Through to Sunlight, Earthly Perch and Turbine Mines.

Smash Through to Sunlight is a striking duet performed by guest dancers David Leventhal from Mark Morris Dance Group and Larry Keigwin. Part of what made this one stand out for me was the excellent use of the technical lighting as an element of the dance, instead of as a minor accent or—as it seems is more common—as a purely accidental afterthought. Ben choreographed this piece together with his lighting designer Kathy Kaufmann.

Turbine Mines is a piece choreographed for six dancers, set to Vangelis’ Bladerunner score—including the voice track featuring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young. Everything for this piece was excellent – lighting, costume, choreography and the dancers were amazing. I was skeptical about a modern dance piece based on what is for me in many ways a “Holy of Holies” of sci-fi and movies. Ben pulled it off beautifully.

Earthly Perch was also an excellent piece which really stood out to me for Ben’s use of the dancers—shifting patterns, forming, parting and reforming. A beautiful piece that really highlights the strengths of the Ben’s choreography, individual dancers and the group as a whole.

Ben Munisteri Dance Projects will be performing again on Sunday, January 18th at 7:30 p.m. You can buy tickets online, by phone or at the door (maybe at the door, the theater was full tonight!) However you order, I highly suggest seeing this show. If you enjoy Modern Dance at all you will not be disappointed by Ben’s premiere at the Joyce.

I thought during the intermission that I spotted Jeffrey Zeldmann in the audience, but I’m sure I was mistaken, or maybe he has more than one lookalike.

In other New York news, it started lightly snowing when we went in to the Joyce, now there looks to be a good 2–3” of snow on the ground. It is a beautiful “dry” powdery snow that glistens and shines like millions of tiny white jewels. I especially love New York in the snow—when it’s first falling and collecting overnight at least. The normal reflected light effect you see everywhere else is tinted in an otherworldly yet peaceful warm glow from the orange light cast by the street lamps. Almost a Martian feel to it. Strange but wonderful and peaceful. Tomorrow’s outing to B&H, the Joyce, the Museum of Natural History and Chinatown in cold slippery slush may make me feel different, but right now it is gorgeous.

Posted by Eric at January 15, 2004 01:35 AM | TrackBack
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Read Niki & Ben Munisteri Dance Projects & Johann @ The Joyce
Weblog: Family Updates
We’re in New York right now, primarily to see Niki — Danica Niki that is, not Nichole Niki — perform at the Joyce Theater as a member of Ben Munisteri Dance Projects. For a review of the company’s premiere show at the Joyce I&#8...