Choreographer: Matjash Mrozewski
Music: Bruce Springsteen
Costumes: Susan O'Neill
Lighting: Michael Korsch
World Premiere: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, April 29, 2004
PBT Performance Date: April/May 2004, March 2009
Program Notes (from PBT playbill, 2009)
By Carol Meeder, former Director of Arts Education
Matjash Mrozewski’s choreographic style, creative thought processes, and personal feelings meld together bringing life to his artistic vision. In “Straight Life,” he pulls the reckless, renegade character from the Springsteen songs providing an undercurrent of melancholy in this series of duets, scenes from different lives. The distance perceived between the couples may be alienation or breathing space, but the dialogue remains equal.
Mrozewski’s movement vocabulary grows from his experience. Complex textures employ non-traditional grips in partnering; an earthiness exhibited through extensive floor work for the women; and meticulous attention to the upper body, revealed in the intricate passing of hands behind the backs of partnering dancers, not unlike the balancing and shifting of personal relationships. Even the visual texture of the footwear, some dancers in pointe shoes, and others in soft ballet shoes or bare feet, is another means of creating character as well as texture; making an identity statement about each relationship that is maintained even as they blend into the broader society of the group.
Mrozewski’s choreography holds an inherent drama, allowing the observer to empathize both physically and emotionally with the characters as they journey through time and space.