Dance review: MJ (Michael Jackson)

Artistic decisions produced a mild, toothless and safe piece of conservative entertainment, in spirit reflecting bygone days.

By ORA BRAFMAN
April 10, 2018 21:16
1 minute read.
BRINGING THE King of Pop to life on the Israeli stage.

BRINGING THE King of Pop to life on the Israeli stage.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Odyssey Dance Theater (USA)
Herzliya
April 9

The Salt Lake City-based Odyssey Dance Theater company concocted a show, choreographed by Derryl Yeager, set to the songs of pop icon Michael Jackson. With a troupe of two dozen dancers and a similar number of very short pieces, he sought to bring to life the heritage of that talented yet tormented soul.

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Apparently, quite versed in several dance disciplines, Yeager – sometimes labeled the Mormon choreographer – managed to weave all those styles into one show, by laying on a pile of short fragments, none longer than a couple of minutes and each alluding to a different style and era, while adapting the mood and rhythm of Jackson’s songs. Among them were hits like “Rockin’ Robin,” “Black Or White,” “Earth Song” and of course, his iconic “Thriller.”

Yeager, judging by the result, felt obliged to stick to the lyrics and melody while trying to be true to Jackson’s own signature movement style. So Jackson’s few well-recognized components were used abundantly, hardly leaving room for original perspective.

It was perplexing that Odyssey’s cast was all white. Yet perhaps that goes together with the artistic decisions which produced mild, toothless and safe piece of conservative entertainment, in spirit reflecting bygone days.

All in all, though the company contains dancers of uneven schooling and capabilities, it was easy to spot the more talented ones, who lifted their scenes. Choreographically, MJ adhered to dance entertainment basics, yet the full-cast opening scene and the finale indicated that there were reservoirs of potential energy that had been on hold for too long.

There will be additional shows at the Tel Aviv Opera House on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All are at 8 p.m. except for Friday’s show, which is at 1 p.m.



For more information: www.israel-opera.co.il/ eng/?CategoryID=855&ArticleID=2729

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