Audiences and critics were captivated by the two world premieres on our Petruska program, JUN 2+3, 2023 at the Newmark Theatre. Reviewing for Oregon Arts Watch, critic Max Taponga noted "This is not a traditional staging of Stravinsky’s iconic ballet about a love triangle involving three puppets brought to life (Petrushka). This contemporary fantasia, choreographed by Joseph Hernandez, offers a deeper exploration, blending lecture – a la Andrea Fraser – with dance-based performance art. The narration, a blend of Hernandez’s writing and Tozzi’s improvisation, often strays from the storyline...It’s refreshing to see the production doesn’t take itself too seriously...The ballet’s story eventually breaks free from Hernandez’s postmodern concept." / "Ihsan Rustem’s The Rite of Spring offers more familiar terrain. Rustem’s Spring moves briskly. Set in a primordial, pagan world, it involves tribes becoming one with the earth, culminating in a chosen one’s sacrificial dance. Only the contours of that story are present here, but Rustem, whose Bolero delighted audiences last fall, is a master in arranging bodies on a stage. Stravinsky’s infamously dense score, which caused riots at its 1913 premiere, flies by...Once again, NW Dance Project proves itself to be one of the most reliably imaginative dance companies in Portland. Both Petrushka and The Rite of Spring are compelling creations in their own right, but paired together they make a visually rich and thought-provoking evening. If Hernandez’s Petrushka questions whether Stravinsky is still worth producing in the 21st century, then Rustem’s Spring answers a resounding “Yes!”
Read the full review HERE.