Do This: BalletX Dances To The Beat Of Amy Winehouse

When the words “weird” and “Winehouse” are connected, you know it’s not to be missed.
August 18, 2016
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“They tried to make me go to rehab/I said no, no, no.”

The Joyce Theater closes out its 2015-2016 Season with a presentation of BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, featuring a program of three New York premieres including Show Me by BalletX co-founder Matthew Neenan Trey McIntyre’s Big Ones with music by Amy Winehouse.

Being from Philadelphia, I am very familiar with the BalletX body of work that usually includes hot boys dressed in almost nothing and accessible works of ballet, a genre usually very inaccessible to theatre goers like me not really interested in the classics.

When I saw that BalletX was coming to New York, I was excited. But I was really intrigued when I found out that one of the works would be set to the soundtrack of my diva – Amy Winehouse.

We all have a diva. For some it’s Whitney. For others it’s Cher. For me – it is Amy.

The evening concludes with Big Ones, a new work by renowned choreographer Trey McIntyre which is set to music by Amy Winehouse and had its world premiere this past February as part of BalletX’s Winter Series 2016.

Sounds amazing, no? Well, don’t take our word for it. The New York Times was there earlier this week to review the work, and this is what they had to say about it:

Perhaps the most offbeat choreographer in American ballet, Mr. McIntyre, who often employs pop or rock music, is now in top form. When Pennsylvania Ballet visited the Joyce for a week this spring, his “The Accidental” (2014) — set to taped songs by Patrick Watson — was the program’s highlight. Now his “Big Ones” (whose premiere I reviewed in Philadelphia this February), accompanied by Amy Winehouse recordings, proves marvelous. This year has already brought some excellent fresh choreography; “Big Ones,” as well as Alexei Ratmansky’s very dissimilar “Serenade After Plato’s Symposium,” new with American Ballet Theater this May, are two of the best examples.

“Big Ones” is truly weird, but it takes you inside its weirdness so soon and so surely that it shows many different humors: It’s funny, touching, poignant, stirring. At its premiere in February, the audience members didn’t laugh; they do now, and at the end they give it the evening’s biggest ovation. The principal peculiarity is derived from the costumes, designed by the ubiquitous team Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, also here at their finest and most idiosyncratic. The dancers, wearing tunics and dark brown leather hot pants, then tie on bonnets with two-foot-tall vertical ears, antennae, tufts or horns.

When the words “weird” and “Winehouse” are connected, you know it’s something not to be missed. Usually I am here for the half naked boys, but this time around – I am here for Amy.

BalletX continues through Sunday at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-242-0800. For tickets.

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