The curtains have fallen at Queens Theatre (at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park) after the Rioult Dance troupe’s final bow. But the evening is not over. Pascal Rioult and his dancers take chairs onstage to share ideas and insights with the audience.
“Dancing is a passion that just comes to you. It becomes your life.” are words echoed by the men and women of Rioult’s performance ensemble. In fact, Rioult met his wife and current Associate Artistic Director Joyce Herring when they were both dancers in 1988.
The evening’s selections are truly beautiful to watch. The troupe utilizes classical powerhouses Bach and Ravel, among others. The first is a tribute to Helen of Troy entitled “On Distant Shores…A Redemption Fantasy.” As the kidnapped queen, lovely Charis Haines interacts with the anguished Trojan War Heroes (Brian Flynn, Josiah Guitian, Jere Hunt, Holt Walborn) with strikingly agile movements filled with affection.
The second offering, “Wien” (Vienna) is a haunting depiction of Vienna between the two world wars. It is inspired by Ravel’s “Valse” (Waltz). “As a Frenchman,” reveals Rioult, “I wonder what I would have done if I were a teenager during the violent years before World War II.” Jane Sato and Anastasia Soroczynski join the group for this vision of a nation’s unexpected inhumanity
The third presentation is called “City.” Although the stage is bare, the rear wall displays a huge bustling crowd of hurrying people. An imposing mosaic of skyscrapers appears as well. Utilizing a Bach Sonata, the dancers provide a disconcerting but all too real interpretation of the dramas that unfold in the City.
Finally, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 becomes the musical support for “Celestial Tides.” A vivid surge of colors ebbs and flows in the background as the performers’ movements compliment the music and “celestial” atmosphere.
Though extremely athletic and equally graceful, they confess that bumps and bruises come with the job. All the twists, turns, leaps and lunges require some clever tricks to keep your partner from a mishap. Gripping under the shoulder blades or under the rib cage prevents accidents.
Clearly, Rioult Dance is an outstanding way to enjoy the world of modern dance. Look for more and varied dancers with an international flair in the weeks ahead. Call the box office at (718) 760-0064 or surf to www.queenstheatre.org. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.