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Friday, April 20, 2012

The Lost Dance

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Yesterday evening was the opening night of Oregon Ballet Theatre's Chromatic Quartet, a four-part program that featured the world premiere of visiting (from Montreal) choreographer Matjash Mrozewski's The Lost Dance. As I've written about in this week's paper, OBT enlisted Adam Arnold to costume the performance, making the ballet, in effect, the designer's spring collection fashion show.

The costuming was classic Arnold, even bearing the the color palette that has grown to be his signature: black, red, white, fuchsia, and an ochre he affectionately refers to as "vomit color." Always a proponent of dressing for the occasion, he outfitted the male dancers in trousers, collared shirts, and ties that read from the stage as normal clothing but were designed with a panoply of inner complications and inventive seaming to allow for a full range of motion without so much as a shirttail coming un-tucked. The women's flowing mid-calf dresses were actually in two pieces, with high waisted panties sewn into the skirts.

For a project that came together through so much independent work—Arnold, Mrozewski, and composer Owen Belton did the vast majority of their communication from afar—it's remarkable how cohesive the final product is. And while Arnold is to be commended on his costuming (the tips of fuchsia on the underside of the men's ties that looked like laser points as they jumped were a particularly nice touch), every aspect of it was remarkable. The lighting design was awesome, shifting from street corner haziness to shattered grid; the creepy, industrial-tinged soundtrack competed with the choreography in the innovation department, and it all came together to create a kind of crime-noir vibe with a hint of reefer madness. It is certainly a worthy rival to any of the dance performances I've seen at the TBA Festival.

Arnold in ballet-research mode.

In sum, it's well worth seeing, and it runs through Saturday, April 28. Tickets start at $15. Get 'em here.

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