Monday, October 03, 2005

Theater Cats and Clowns

On saturday afternoon, Brad and I experienced something so special and surreal. . .

Yury Kuklachev and The Moscow Theatre Cats.

Brad's employer, Mary-Anne Martin of
Mary-Anne Martin Fine Arts, is a cat lover of the highest degree. After reading this article in the NY Times, she invited some of us other lucky cat lovers to the performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

The cat show was actually much more of a clown show, performed by Yury (as the main act/head clown), two assistant clowns (one of which put on an impressive hoola-hoop twirling act) and a cat queen (perhaps Yury's wife?) dressed in an pale blue gown and a golden cat helmet. These performers told an abstract story involving painting, building blocks and a bizarre dream sequence complete with two people in sparkling suits and alien heads. All of this was set loosely to the tune of the nutcracker suite and russain circus music, performed live, synth-style, on a keyboard.

The cats accompanied the performance running across the stage and executing their tricks. Some of the tricks were simply for the cats to sit still while being sent across the stage in such things as miniture hot air balloons and bicycles on an elaborate pully system. Others pushed and were pushed around the stage in carts by the two dog performers. However, the cats also performed such stunts as tightrope walking (and hanging), jumping, climbing up poles and Mr. Kuklachev, dancing, handstands, and running on a mirror ball. The grand finale consisted of Yury touring the stage with several cats climbing onto and jumping off of his shoulders while the cat queen circled the stage on a golden tricycle contraption with rods suspending 4 cats about her in the air.

Even my wildest imagination, with the help of hallucinogenic drugs, could not have conceived the wonder that was the Moscow Cats Theatre . . .

And for a double dose of culture, last night we attended the final performance of the Fall for Dance series at City Center. A really cool concept, the series hosted 30 international dance companies, 5 companies per night in 6 performances for the amazing price of $10 for any seat in the house! The tickets were not sold in advance, only an hour and a half before the show at the box office. Unfortunatley, we learned how hot this event was when we arrived only 30 mintues after tickets sales had begun to be sent to the sold-out cancellation line in hopes of procuring someone else's unused tickets before 8pm.

I will tell you, I was a very disapointed girl standing in that line, in a crowd charged with desperation and speckled with scalpers. Tickets were not easy to come by. Brad showed his love for me by trolling the arriving crowd yelling "Does ANYONE have two extra tickets!?" as I waited with my hand on the cash in my back pocket. Luckily, with just 15 minutes to go, we happened at the right time onto a women with 2 seats (unknown to us at the time) in the center of the last row!

But it was worth it (and pretty exciting). The performance was incredible.

On our bill for the evening was:

Charles Mouton's "48 Person Precision Ball Passing"
As the title tells you, 48 dancers positioned on risers passing balls, and a young female dancer at one point, set to music. Super cool.

A solo by Vincent Mantsoe, a leading South African choreographer and beautiful dancer.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard's "24 Predludes by Chopin"
By far, the highlight of the night. Men and women dancers in sexy, sheer and small black costumes with crazy braided hair-dos and mohalks, and
a really cool contemporary take on Chopin's music. It was a series of solos, duos, trios and group movements with a silly, yet expressive and fluid choreographic style. I am looking forward to attending their performance at the Joyce this December. What a treat to be introduced to such an exciting company of dancers!

"7x7x7x7x7" performed by Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks
7 dancers, 7 Trombones (and musicians playing them) and four 7-foot cubes on stage.

And finally, The Joffrey Ballet performed "Suite Saint-Saƫns"
To be honest it was sort of a queer piece, classical in style yet choreographed in the late 70's.
But, beautiful none the less.

An awesome night of dance. My only wish was that a family of ignorant assholes hadn't been sitting right in front of us, talking, laughing, crinkling paper and checking their cell phones throughout the entire performance. Grrrr. I was actually infuriated to the point of shushing them during the last piece. Apparently these peoople had never been in a theater before and remained completely oblivious to the fact that they were disrupting and ruining the experience of everyone anround them . . .

Oh well, I fell for the dancing anyway.

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