|Simone Dinnerstein (at piano), Netta Yerushalmy, Jason Collins, Maggie Cloud, and Melissa Toogood. Photo: Marina Levitskaya|
Tanowitz has experimented with ballet and modern over the course of her career, pulling apart conventions, splitting up the body’s symmetry, applying a little bit of “exquisite corpse” to predictable positions and phrasing. In Goldberg, the vocabulary relaxes into what are often basic, fundamental human moves—step-taps, grapevines, loping chassées, jumps. But it’s less of the post-Cunningham analytics that we’ve seen from her before, even if some quirks pop up now and again.
Naturally, some of Bach’s rhythms are reflected in the movement, which evolves according to each of the many variations. Step-tapping in a circle, the proceedings feel like a happy, courtly ritual. Distinctive solos and moves are accorded each performer, crafted around their individual strengths. When the most devilish music crops up—hummingbird-fast fingerwork, crossing hands—the choreograph cedes the spotlight to Dinnerstein, and the dancers sit and watch, in awe, with us. Any dance work featuring a pianist on stage and dancers interacting with her evoke Jerome Robbins, who pioneered a kind of playful ease and visual banter that welcomes in viewers.
The visual effect is created with warm whites, creams, and golds with splashes of hot and cool colors. The costumes are sheer gossamer tunics and pants, and later jumpsuits, in these transparent hues, over gold leotards. The entirety is a satisfying whole that affirms art’s ability to enrich, and restores at least a little bit of faith in humanity.