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Review: A Work That Conjures Desert Sands and Whirlwinds

Bare-chested and wearing free white culottes, the 13 males of Compagnie Hervé Koubi transfer all the way through “What the Day Owes to the Night” in ways in which recommend the slowly transferring contours of sand dunes or the unexpected spins of wasteland whirlwinds. The juxtaposition of contrasting speeds and shapes is enchanting. And the virtuosity of the ones rotations — the lads flip, the wrong way up, on both each palms or one, so impulsively and so speedy that you'll’t moderately see what they’re doing or how — is a slightly of theatrical magic. The costumes, via Guillaume Gabriel, simply flare into the air; the lighting fixtures, via Lionel Buzonie, suggests the shimmering warmth of a mirage.

On Tuesday, the manufacturing’s opening night time at the Joyce Theater, Mr. Koubi prefaced the efficiency with a captivating speech from the entrance of the auditorium. He defined that he's French-born however (because the title Koubi might recommend) of Algerian descent. When he requested about his ancestry, his father, a person of few phrases, simply confirmed him an previous of a person in Arab apparel.

This led the target audience to be expecting a piece of ethnic nostalgia, a seek for a misplaced tradition. Instead, with out a sense of longing or loss to border it, “What the Day Owes,” a 2013 paintings that has been carried out at Jacob’s Pillow and somewhere else within the United States, is solely a coherent international, a reimagining of an all-male North African society that gives athleticism however no hard work.


From left, Mourad Messaoud, Ismail Oubbajaddi and Zakaria Ghezal within the dance.

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Others might see much less wasteland imagery than I do and extra city and extra-African ideas. These performers, all with robust upper-body musculature, are boulevard dancers; the upside-down spins like the ones you in finding in spoil dancing. Some of the hurtling upside-down jumps are the ones in most cases related to capoeira, the Brazilian martial arts style. And, towards the tip, one of the crucial males begin to spin — upright this time — at the spot within the off-kilter upper-body stance of dervishes.

I doubt whether or not this variety of cultural reference is precisely apposite to Mr. Koubi’s Algerian quest. But “What the Day Owes” instantly items itself as a piece of fable, and is highest relished as such. Impersonally, the lads improve one some other; there are some impressive lifts, throws and catches. It’s a hybrid, no longer such a lot undying as time-traveling, with a ranking starting from Sufi song to Bach.

Having fallen in love with “What the Day Owes” within the first two mins, I discovered that it didn’t deepen my love after the primary 15. There are a few moments when you'll see what’s coming. (Men held prime via others are going to fall and be stuck.) And there are a number of later results — the ones dervish spins — that seem like afterthoughts, no longer natural portions of the entire. Though the piece is going thru adjustments of pace, it loses momentum right here and there in its 65-minute period.

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