Rioult’s “Written for Dance” Pays Tribute to Musical Composition

Photo by Eric Bandiero. Review by Jocelyn Delifer. RIOULT Dance NY presented Written for Dance at the Joyce Theater last week. The program featured three dances, including the world premiere of Nostalghia.

Starting with Dream Suite, a piece first performed in 2014, Rioult explores the romantic period with a music by Tchaikovsky. This orchestral suite is a fine example of the dialogue between instruments with symmetrical phrasing. Dancers embody this harmony with a great musicality in the interpretation. The audience was transported into these dreams, to the point that the action appears surreal: Rioult brilliantly creates an oneiric atmosphere where dancers turn into strange creatures.

The neoclassic period is set to a music by Stravinsky, Les Noces, and offers Rioult’s interpretation of the ballet created by Nijinska for the Ballets Russes. Stravinsky’s musicality challenges dancers, as it breaks with traditional rhythm. This piece is no exception but Rioult’s dancers successfully bring a complex story to life. And while the sets and costumes cleverly enhance the piece, the pervasive use of chairs tends to become more of an unnecessary distraction, and even an obstacle to the dancers.

Rioult has noted that it has become incredibly challenging for choreographers to commission scores for their work. The third and last dance, Nostalghia, brings to life an original score by the Russian composer Polina Nazaykinskaya.

Rioult’s collaboration with Nazaykinsaya resulted in a piece that provides a vehicle for his vision of nostalgia as a complex mix of emotions from past experiences.

Rioult’s theme, nostalgia, was the starting point for Nazaykinsaya’s music. The music reminds of a film score, perhaps because it tells a story and is meant to accompany live action. In turn, Rioult translated it into choreography with the help of his dancers. Improvisation was at the center of Rioult’s creation: his dancers were given the opportunity to show their own interpretation at several instances. This catches the eye, as movements appear particularly free and spontaneous; nonetheless it faces the risk of giving an impression of chaos and confused choreography. The piece also unveils a human tower which thrills by its effortless execution and aesthetic structure.

Nostalghia nicely illustrates the dialogue between the composer, the choreographer and the dancers, which has been the essence of dance for centuries, and yet remains enigmatic.