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Dance Review (NYC): Snow White by Company XIV

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Company XIV's latest dance dazzler may be aimed at kids, but it's a captivating show for all ages.

Taking the tale of Snow White straight from the Brothers Grimm, and borrowing a few costuming themes from Disney's classic animated version of the popular but creepy fairy tale, choreographer Austin McCormick and his multi-talented group conjure an extravagant feast for the eye and ear.

At the performance I attended, a large number of children, some quite small, remained rapt for over an hour. As it was hard to look away from the cavalcade of gorgeous dances, costumes, sets and props, I had to remind myself to glance over at the kids every few minutes to gauge their reactions.

Here, as in the troupe's adult-themed shows, McCormick uses baroque dance, ballet, and modern dance variously as the spirit calls.  A rather straightforward ballet defines Snow White herself at the start. An elegant baroque dance captivates (literally) our lovely but obtuse heroine a bit later, as the disguised Wicked Queen gussies poor Snow up in a fancy white wig bearing the lethal comb. Jerky modernistic movements jack up the monstrous creatures representing the third and final temptation of Snow White: the poisoned apple. Shadow puppets play the Dwarves to humorous effect.

Company XIV always casts a wide net to find lively and appropriate music. Here the recorded selections range from Carnival of the Animals to "Rumania Rumania," and from Tchaikovsky to Ella Fitzgerald. Making this show extra special is the presence of a baroque opera trio knows as Charites, consisting of three women who sing live numbers and play the sweetly musical Mirror, a screened entity that must be seen and heard to be appreciated.

My only complaint: the recorded music was a little too loud during the first couple of numbers, drowning out the narration. Either my ears or the sound engineer adjusted after a short while and all was well for the remainder.

It's been a great privilege to be able to experience the arc of all three recent Company XIV productions.  Le Serpent Rouge and The Judgment of Paris are in revival through mid-January, alternating performances with Snow White. Indulge yourself and see them all, or if you're taking the kids, experience this Snow White – it's a fairy story to remember.

Presented by Company XIV at 303 Bond St., Brooklyn, N.Y. Dec. 12–Jan. 17. Sat. and Sun., 3 p.m. (No performance Sun., Dec. 13, and Sat., Dec. 26.) (212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com. More information at the Company XIV website.

Photo by Daniel Perez.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
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