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Eliot Feld’s “Bent Planes″

October 16, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The audience shivered at the Joyce Theater Wednesday night partly from enjoyment of Eliot Feld’s delightful new ballet, but mostly from the icy air swirling about.

The theater was kept unusually cold, a program note warned, because of the technical rigors of the new work called ″Bent Planes,″ and for the safety of the dancers.

The curtain rose on a colorful arrangement of peaks and valleys. And with the arrival of the first dancer in the Feld Ballet slithering backwards down a ramp, it became clear why the temperature had been lowered.

It is an exhausting dance with quick changes of tempo and non-stop movement. The 17 dancers careen up and down the rear ramps with split-second timing and without missing a beat. They somersault over one another at ramps near the stage’s wings and contract and slither like athletic felines.

Like the peaks and valleys of the set, the dance itself rises and falls, rises and falls, feeding itself from its own energy until the entire stage shudders with movement.

The repetitive steps are simplistic, yet intricate. It is indeed one of Feld’s more joyful excursions set to Steve Reich’s Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards. Willa Kim’s gymnastic costumes are understated and just right for the high-energy gyrations on the stage. And the company explodes in a well-executed performance.

Feld also premiered ″Echo,″ a solo work also choreographed to a Reich composition. It was performed Wednesday night by Karen Kain, a visiting dancer, who has been a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada since 1971.

With a marvelous and sensuous harem-like costume by Willa Kim, Miss Kain undulated on point, executing the more demanding flexed turnouts with a certain coquettish attitude.

She understood the subtlety of Feld’s choreography.

The Wednesday performance also included two works in the Feld repetoire: the haunting ″Adieu″ and the very joyful ″The Jig Is Up.″

Judith Denman, Allison Wade, Thomas Lemanski and James Sewell appeared as the two pairs of lovers and were wonderful. The 16 members of the company who performed ″The Jig Is Up″ were a delight.

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