oblige, Louis XIV decreed that France should revolve around
its king like the planets around the sun. Austin McCormick's
four year-old dance theater troupe Company XIV has
ambitions of a more cultural nature, and here it is the audience
that sits still while the performers are the ones who are in a
constant whirl! The company's version of The Judgment of
Paris draws from Congreve's opera of the same name, and is an
extravaganza, a 'dance entertainment' set to text by Austin
McCormick and Toby Burns.
Judgment of Paris tells the story of Paris, the young Trojan
prince who was asked to arbitrate the primordial beauty contest
between Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena. Paris chooses Aphrodite
(and the love of the beautiful Helen that she offered).
Helen leaves with Paris to Troy… leading to the outbreak of the
Trojan War. The show examines the myth from a contemporary
perspective and melds can-can with Baroque and neo-classical dance
to startling effect, while exploring the themes of attraction,
betrayal, and loss. McCormick's talent lies not only in his
ability to delve into a wide reservoir of dance knowledge, but in
the layering of different dance techniques to best effect.
One minute the dancers joyfully prance about doing the can-can;
the next they plunge into high Baroque drama set to
deftly-executed balletic choreography.
Marchese is exquisitely bawdy as Aphrodite. As Helen, the
woman whose face launched a thousand ships, Elyssa Dole displays a devastating combination of innocence and
willfulness. Laura Careless and Yeva Glover round out the
stellar cast. The music for this ninety-minute piece is an
eclectic mix which includes excerpts from Congreve's opera, as
well as Offenbach's La Belle Helene and Marlene Dietrich
presented in May 2008 at the company's Carroll Gardens studios,
the show won Pick of the Fringe at the 2008 Edinburgh
Fringe Festival. Company XIV reprises The Judgment of
Paris, January 8th to February 1st at The Duo Theatre; 62 East
4th Street, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 2PM.