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Rah De Deux
Clive Barnes, New York Post
January 18, 2002

IT is one of dance’s odder pairings, but it’s been going, off and on, for more than five years now – and it was the highlight of Wednesday’s opening of Molissa Fenley and Dancers, the final offering of the three-week Altogether Different Festival at the Joyce Theater.

The partnership is that of 47-year-old Fenley, one of modern dance’s stormier figures, and her guest artist, the super-elegant 35-year-old Peter Boal, whose day jobs include being one of the resident princes at New York City Ballet and a principal teacher at the School of American Ballet.

Boal appears only in the first work of Fenley’s program, presumably to enable him to dash home to Lincoln Center, his family or wherever his workaholic life takes him. But it is enough.

He is one of today’s great male classic stylists who always dances as if he is giving his senior students an object lesson in the art of the impeccable.

His duet with Fenley is called “Pola’a” and is set to music from Lou Harrison’s Elegiac Symphony. Fenley first choreographed it as a solo for herself, but she and Boal have danced it together for many years.

It is a beautiful, flowing duet, full of sweeps and curls, twists and curlicues – classic in outline, modern in manner. The two of them go handsomely together, Fenley gamely keeping pace with Boal’s natural and tireless virtuosity.

Unfortunately, nothing else on the program quite matches up to this opening, and Fenley’s dances – including the premiere of “331 Steps,” featuring a trio of three women with long intertwining ribbons on a seashore – started to become overfamiliar.

I’m not sure whether that seashore number really had 331 steps in it – who’s counting? – but I wouldn’t have said too many of them were that different. Monotony descended before the curtain.

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