Molissa Fenley and Company

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Raw, Soul-Searching Ballet
Melody Datz, thestanger.com
March 19th, 2014

 I admit I was a little worried about Molissa Fenley's State of Darkness. Ballets set to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" tend to be angular, mechanical, overly dramatic, and dorky (maybe that's why the 1913 premiere caused a riot?). But the endurance-testing solo by Jonathan Porretta continues to echo in my brain like a camera flash. Porretta's solo piece is long and grueling—by the end, you can see the sweat running thickly through his mop of dark hair—but never for one second does his concentration or physical commitment waver. Shirtless and clad in black tights, Porretta stands in a spotlight that shines from offstage like a far-off sunbeam. His movements are searching, his arms sometimes jerking as if trying to signal for help from above, sometimes sweeping reverentially and almost ceremonially—but always with strength, always bearing an animalistic streak. State of Darkness is raw soul-searching combined with ballet in a way that only the most mature artist can accomplish, and Porretta's amazingly strong, chiseled body shadowed under the dim lighting heightens the religious experience.  

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/raw-soul-searching-ballet/Content?oid=19094646

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