Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
New companies frequently depend on guest artists and borrowed choreography. The Israel Ballet, which performed in a gala benefit at Lisner Monday, with guest artists Martine Van Hamel and Ivan Nagy, is no exception.
The concert was one of a series of one-night performances in various American cities designed to raise funds and introduce American audiences to the 10-year-old company and its repertory.
Two of the five pieces on Monday's program were by black American choreographer Gene Hill Sagan. His opening piece, "Transposed Images," was a study in non-stop motion with interesting mirrorings and delayed symmetries that produced a properly murky. Mahlerian atmosphere. The continuum of adagios by paired dancers gave an impression of mental simultaneity, as if the images we were watching on stage were actually separated in time but transposed in consciousness.
In "Sweet Agony," to music to Jimi Hendrix and Richie Havens, Sagan applied the same principle of continual action, but with a vocabulary of contractions, high kicks, flailing arms and rapid swirls, all performed at a driving speed that felt compulsive and, finally, wearying.
The third repertory piece on the program was "Opus 35" by Swiss choreographer Heinz Spoerli. Goofy, and a bit too long, with quirky vacilations in tone, it was nonetheless, an entertaining bag of mixed metaphors. The piece combined a touch of Gaite Parisienne with amusing mechanistic images, the dancers cavorting like choo-choo trains or space-age Coppelias.
Although there were occasional hestitancies and moments when timing and spacing were off, the company performed all three of its repertory pieces with competence and aplomb.
Van Hamel and Nagy seemed diffident in the "Concerto Pas de Deux," but brought all the requisite glitter to their "Black Swan" pas de deux.