For their opening night at the Joyce Theater, Keigwin + Company presented four dances. Natural Selection was the ins and outs of three pairs of dancers in muted colors suggestive of simplicity and nature that didn’t add anything to similar modern pas de deux variations, and the dancers sometimes searched for their footing when set down from a lift. One learned fast to keep ones eyes on Liz Riga, a tall, long legged, extremely flexible and vibrant dancer.
Love Songs, to music by Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, was more varied in terms of partnering and with more traces of street dancing, but tended to repeat its good “bits.” The program notes that Liz Riga “was named one of the top 20 dancers of 2008 by Dance Magazine for her ‘over the top raunchy/funny femme fatal’ performance of Larry Keigwin’s Love Songs.” She’s great, but that’s an overstatement of the role.
Triptych was a world premier but brought nothing new. The last, Bolero NYC, had an interesting possibility: large numbers of people of all sizes, shapes and ages promenading dance-like in an open urban area — like Washington Square Park, many of the dancers come from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts near there. Once dancer — yes, Liz Riga — leads a dog. There’s a steady-ahead bicyclist. Everybody wears black and red miscellaneous costumes from “Our Closets.” There are crowd pleasers: an extremely tall ectomorphic male parading slowly in a tiny red bikini; an overweight woman in a bright red satin dress wiggling to “Bolero,” and in fact, the ballet panders to laughs and sentimentality. A tiny tot of a girl is left too long alone on the stage with an inflated balloon; and, as if Ravel’s “Bolero” wasn’t enough, at the end there’s a segue to “Celebration.”
The dancing ranged from competent to, in one case, tops — the women were generally finer dancers than the men — but all in all the choreography lacked imaginative vigor.
Keigwin + Company dances at the Joyce Theater — usually a GREAT venue for dance — in NYC’s Chelsea district June 23-27.