Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Seldom has the work of a young choreographer been as rich in substance and skilled in structure as Eliot Feld's in the 1960s, when he began to make ballets. Three of the early pieces were danced Wednesday by the Eliot Feld Ballet Co., on the first night of its short but now annual visit to Wolf Trap.
"At Midnight," to Mahler's haunting orchestral settings of Ruckert poems - Feld's second ballet - begins as an autoerotic nightmare and becomes a contemplation of lovers and solitary souls.
"The Consort," made at the end of Feld's initial creative period, at first is a formal portrait of Renaissance society as seen in stiff, set dances; then, unexpectedly, the ballet ends in frolic.
The Brahms "Intermezzo" becomes satiric after starting as another serious romantic piano ballet with long phrases, rhythmically complex partnering and steps that constantly change direction.
For these ballets with transitions that must be both subtle and certain, Feld has a company of dancers who play off each other like the best chamber musicians. Movement melds even when two dancers face in opposite directions, and the style is one of smooth muscularity.
There is an almost modern dance interplay of tension and release in the characterized passages. But even in the melodic moments a sense of weight acts as a countercurrent to the pulled-up, turned-out norm of classical ballet.
Even in this fine ensemble, some performers attract attention. Jeff Satinoff's high, sharp scissor leaps balanced the hip strokes of the men's ensemble in the lascivious section of "The Consort." Edmund LaFosse, with his punchy boxer's build and balletic grandeur, summarized Feld's male style, as the poetic "I" in "At Midnight" and as the self-absorbed romantic in "Intermezzo." Young, taller brian Jameson seems to be not far behind LaFosse.
Christine Sarry, the company's senior artist, is showing a fresh and sharp precision that has been absent in her dancing here for a couple of seasons. Eliot Feld, himself, is looking gaunt and has let his hair grow. In the romantic costume for "Intermezzo," he now looks like pictures of Franz Liszt.