Eva Trapp and Robert Moore in Ave Maria (2010)
Choreographer: Dwight Rhoden
Music: Giulio Caccini
Costumes and Set Design: Dwight Rhoden
Lighting: Michael Korsch (2005); Robert Hand (2008)
PBT Performance Dates: March 2005, February 2008, February 2010
NY Times, 1998 – The choreographic tone was set by the ''Ave Maria,'' which began the program. Far from being pious, this was a passionate duet for Christina Johnson and Ryan Brooke Taylor in which Mr. Rhoden choreographically proclaimed the worth of flesh as well as spirit.
NY Times, 1997 – Mr. Rhoden was also balletically flamboyant in ''Ave Maria,'' a pas de deux for Christina Johnson and Donald Williams from a longer work called ''The Grapes of Wrath.'' Mr. Rhoden attempted to make acrobatics serve as a symbol of religious exaltation. Although there were moments in which virtuosity seemed more important than spirituality, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Williams danced with the ease of angels throughout the duet.
ballet~dance magazine, 2005 – “Ave Maria” (1995) by Dwight Rhoden was clearly a hit with the audience. Set to a tape of a countertenor singing this famous music, this pas de deux is a showcase and featured Paola Hartley and Astrit Zejnati. While it could perhaps have represented an Adam and Eve, Mr. Zejnati later told us that the stager, Christina Johnson, said the male was an angel helping the Mary figure. Full of unusual shapes and partnering moves that were quite athletic and lovely and very kinetic.
Dance Magazine, 2002 – Rhoden's dancers dive headfirst into an innovative vocabulary of shapes, body undulations, and warpspeed movement phrases, risky jumps, falls, and slides. Rhoden describes his work as an "amalgamation of textures--dense, purposefully multilayered, and thick." Even his preference for moody, low lighting, as designed by Michael Korsch, challenges his dancers. But as one dancer puts it, "We're willing to deal with a little discomfort because we know we will look better to the audience."