Jonathan Porretta Dazzles in 'Director's Choice' at PNB
Rachel Gallaher, City Arts
March 17th, 2014
In 1913, Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring premiered in Paris. When Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes performed, the audience came dangerously close to rioting in response to the avant-garde, non-traditional choreography. On Saturday night, in State of Darkness, choreographed by Molissa Fenley to Stravinsky’s score, Jonathan Porretta powered through a 36-minute solo that captured a similar electric, almost crazed energy, causing the audience to explode into a frenzied standing ovation. It was one of those rare, special performances where something powerful takes over the stage, the dancer an all-encompassing artistic force. Moving from the opening of a bassoon solo in high register through sections of grand pounding rhythms, brass, strings, percussion, Porretta, wearing simple black spandex pants, displayed the strong, pure athletics of dance. Every movement was intense and controlled—from great jumps and kicks to the smallest motions of the arms. He never flagged, appearing masculine, yet possessing a grace and fluidity—a juxtaposition that augmented the brilliance of his performance.