From the very start, when the audience sees the gold-and-maroon costumes of the corps, DSCH treads refreshing and unexpected territory. Carrie Imler, Batkhurel Bold, and Seth Orza gleefully exploded out of the corps’ embrace, their energy mirrored by unison movements in the background. DSCH proceeded in an ever-shifting array of patterns that are often interrupted by humorous moments, such as Jerome Tisserand repeatedly bouncing up and down on his heels like a misbehaving little boy. The real glory of the piece, though, was in its central section. To the melodies of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Carla Korbes and Karel Cruz danced a pas de deux framed by gold-clad corps members. Korbes displayed her signature quiet passion, and was capably matched by the strong partnering skills of Cruz, who seems to have acquired a new level of confidence over the past few seasons. Their breathtaking lifts soared and then skimmed the floor, until both walked upstage to join hands with the waiting corps. An exuberant finale, filled with quirky moments like a slow motion duet between Imler and Orza, was the perfect way to close.
When all is danced and done, PNB’s Contemporary 4 comes no closer to determining which choreographer will create a balletic revolution. Morris, Goecke, Gibson, and Ratmansky all have such individual voices that it is difficult to even begin comparing the works. This does, however, create a treat for PNB audiences who want an eclectic evening that displays the company’s versatility and daring. Artistic Director Peter Boal has always been a proponent of new works, and these pieces do a good job of showing what is out there. Anyone interested in the future of ballet needs to see Contemporary 4. It’s an adventure that’s well worth the time.