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Feld Ballet ‘Mother Nature’ Opens

March 2, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ ″Mother Nature,″ an amusing ballet which mixes the Garden of Eden and Greek mythology - mainly as an excuse for dancing about in light-hearted fashion - received its premiere Thursday night by Feld Ballets NY.

Eliot Feld choreographed ″Mother Nature″ and the other three ballets on the program at the Joyce Theater.

Jeffrey Neeck and Buffy Miller were the man and woman in brief, flower- bedecked costumes. At first he was asleep inside a cosy fenced enclosure; she was piled up with four furry female sheep. Darren A. Gibson as Cupid shot arrows at the two and Amoretto - Joan Tsao, dancing as Cupid’s partner - dropped an apple into the hands of Neeck.

When he tossed aside the core, the ballerina sheep scampered for it.

James Sewell as a satyr entered and pursued Neeck, not Miss Miller. The sun, moon and clouds were carried across the stage, depicting days passing. Scott Rink did one-hand cartwheels across the stage, while carrying the sun in his other hand. Everybody gamboled about and did amazing controlled things with their bodies while balancing on their shoulders or their lower arms.

The couple married and had a wedding night, behind a big leaf.

The music was several pieces by Monteverdi, including ″Madrigali Erotici.″ It was all jolly and our only complaint is that nearly every section went on until the audience’s delight was diminishing.

The evening was all on the light-hearted side. It began with the smile- producing ″Excursions″ from 1975, to music by Samuel Barber, continued with ″Asia″ from 1989, in which Lynn Aaron does many slinky Orientalisms to Ravel’s ″Sheherazade.″ Willa Kim’s chiffon trousers for the five women were graceful and sexy.

Then James Sewell performed ″Medium:Rare,″ using eight slant boards and a small trampoline. Sewell needed to be an athlete and an actor to vary moods and he was both. The music was minimalist, by Steve Reich.

All evening, dancers looked in top form. Eliot Feld has choreographed 63 ballets since 1967, giving Feld Ballets NY a big repertoire. It really is a brilliant company.

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