Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Herzliya Performing Arts Center, March 27, 2019.

The Aspen Santa Fe ballet (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Aspen Santa Fe ballet
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The ASFB is a repertoire company with a double set of home cities; Aspen (Colorado) and Santa Fe (New Mexico). It carved a name for itself for more than two decades by managing a tight, medium-sized group of fine dancers, and varied repertoire, some by renowned choreographers.
On its second tour to Israel, ASFB company performed three creations by contemporary choreographers: Jorma Elo, Alejandro Cerrudo and Cayetano Soto.
The evening opened with “1st Flash” by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, set to pristine music by Jean Sibelius. The work amalgamates contemporary spirit with traces of more stylized genera, long lines and contained bodies. Within his individualistic touch, one finds a good measure of liberated body next to contradicting conservative perceptions.
 Alejandro Cerrudo’s commissioned work “Silent Ghost” brought pleasing dynamics to the stage, and some interesting, inventive moves and gestures that revealed some new facets of the dancers, and revealed just as much about this talented dance maker. Some of the more captivating scenes included compositional changes, next to few special duets with individualistic, poetic touch.
“Huma Rojo” created by ASFB house choreographer Cayetano Soto, seemed to receive most attention, perhaps, hoping to become the equivalent of “Revelations” by the late Alvin Ailey, which is an exceptional signature piece. It is still being performed at the end of each show of Alvin Ailey company for the past 59 years!
The Aspen Santa Fe dancers, dressed in bright red from head to toe, get warmed up by sizzling, mostly Latin music, shaking their hips and shoulders. In the meantime, background musical collage sways from Western movie tunes, to corny popular oldies such as “Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps,” which for some unexplained reason, inspired all the dancers to grab their crotches, M. Jackson-style, but without the moonwalk. That is certainly inappropriate timing for a homage to Jackson.
 Being on the shallow side of artistic stage dance, the work negates the company motto, stating that dance celebrates the human spirit, not the steps.
The work flatters the audience shamelessly, feeding them with feather weight product, while the capable company can handle much more complex and layered dance.