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Thorns of the Crown

September 10th, 2016


Alexandre Barranco (in the air) being lifted by Nicholas Montero
photos by Corona Works


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† by R. Pikser


Shakespeare has been an inspiration for many, in theater, radio, film, or dance.† His characters are specific to their place, time, and circumstances and, at the same time, so all-encompassing that we believe we can recognize their traits in those we know.†

Choreographer Ramon Oller has combined the strength of Flamenco, the melting style of postmodern, complex lifts, and the use of some swords to suggest a brooding atmosphere of the lusts for power and death.† But atmosphere is only one aspect of a piece.†


This eclectic approach clouded what Mr. Oller had in mind.† Was it atmosphere?† Was it character?† It definitely was not story.† At various points during the hour-long piece, there were snippets from well-known soliloquys, Richard III, Lady Macbeth, and Hamlet, but these did not seem to relate to what we were seeing.† Additionally, Mr. Ollerís choice of dance styles did not always help.† The choreographer who wants to create a dramatic piece must create his or her own, evocative, movement.† While the power of Flamenco related well to intrigue and power, the postmodern movements chosen by Mr. Oller were so soft as to be essentially passive, not helpful in a piece about power.† The most interesting choreographic moments were in the group work of the four men as they crossed and recrossed the stage and related to each other.†


Maricarmen Garciaís Flamenco carriage, her footwork, and her intelligent use of her years of experience gave her performance a strength beyond the choreography.† Because she knew who she was, we believed her, though her function in the ballet was far from clear.† Ms. Corona had many lifts and duets with the four beautiful and sexily clad young men of the chorus, but her relationship to them was also unclear:† Were they lovers, children, rivals?† The men, when dancing together, were given some inventive movement, but only Michael Bishop found dynamic and rhythmic variation to give the movement shape.† His lengthy death scene was one of the high points of the ballet, with interesting movements for all and a chance for the dancers to be clear about what they were doing.


Mr. Oller has an interesting idea, but he needs development and more specificity in the movement to bring his ballet to a more satisfying level.


Thorns of the Crown

September 9th 10th, 2016; 7:30 p.m.

Black Box of the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

18 Bleecker Street

New York, NY

Tickets $35