Barechested Brazilian men in tutus
Cisne Negro means “black swan” in Portuguese, but don’t go to the Joyce this week expecting the melodrama — or the pointe shoes — of last winter’s hit movie. What you will find are three recent works.
“Flock,” to a mash-up of Stravinsky scores, managed to sap the energy in the music while displaying the well-toned abs of the dancers. A dozen young men and women keep changing from tiny black briefs to black tutus to red briefs to red tutus. Choreographer Gigi Caciuleanu, responsible also for the costumes, puts them through acrobatic paces, but the piece remains scattered, too quiet and too badly lit to have real impact.
Dany Bittencourt’s “ABACADA” promised more light, with a bright projection on the back wall and more bare skin, but what emerged from this fusion of choreography and improvisation resembled a romp on the beach, with slack design outclassed by Andre Mehmari’s allusive music.
Monday evening’s performance closed with the new “Calunga,” Rui Moreira’s effort to “establish a dialogue between the past and the present in order to build a future.” The lovely dancers seemed to fuse Vegas routines with carnival energy — hot pink lighting — and a scene right out of Jerome Robbins’ “The King and I”; they mobilized a glittery blue tarpaulin to symbolize the ocean and played around and in it. But the choreography was bland.