Choreographer: Twyla Tharp
Music: Edgar Meyer
Costumes and Set Design: Santo Loquasto
Lighting: David Finn, recreated by Michael Korsch
World Premiere: Twyla Tharp Dance Company, October 4, 1991
PBT Performance Date: March 2008
Program Notes (from PBT playbill, 2008; notes adapted from Twyla Tharp's Abstract)
This presentation of male and female dancers has been described by Tharp as one of her most distilled creations. In her “fully abstracted” ballet, the choreographer presents the men and women in equal measure numerically, but shows off the women somewhat more prominently. The choreography’s impetus and inspiration came from the extra fine-bred schooling inherent in the “pedigrees” of the Paris Opera Ballet and New York City Ballet dancers for whom Octet was originally created. The dancers and dancing are both aesthetically elegant and intentionally sleek with costuming that appears as late twentieth century renderings of bathing beauties from an earlier era. The contemporary musical composition from bassist Meyer has an air of earlier age jazz, and the dancers and the dancing respond to that jazzy dimension with related aplomb. The mood is chicly cool with the leggy ballerina/bathing beauties kicking and prancing about as their counterpart male dancers provide occasional support and strike out with their own confidently elegant body language.