June 2013: Like Lazarus Did

As a big fan of Son Lux, the stage name of musician Ryan Lott, I was bummed to miss his much-raved about performance with the Stephen Petriono ballet company in May. “Like Lazarus Did” is the story of life — birth and aging and death and, perhaps occasionally with a bit of otherworldly magic, rebirth — in ballet choreographed to the swelling, thumping, eerie music of Son Lux. Here’s what The New Yorker said of it:

When Son Lux sang, “Come out!,” over and over, we could see, in the narrow strip created by the raised curtain, the dancers’ legs as they took the stage; the chorus members left the aisles and went to sit in the balcony. The stage lights came up on three trios of dancers, the six men in knee-length sheer white long-sleeved dresses and the three women in shorter white dresses, with piecemeal sleeves. As Son Lux, now at the piano, struck a key repeatedly, and sang, “Alleluia,” leading us into the work, each trio began to move—easy arms and torsos, gentle and weighted—and pleasing bits of unison arose, linking dancers in different groups. Eventually, a babble of voices could be heard, and the trios’ phrases started accumulating, weaving a texture as we watched. Sweeping arms, etched beautifully against the black background, led into little leaps coming downstage; the music and the choreography picked up in complexity, until the trios resolved in a still moment, with two figures of each trio on the ground and one standing above them, an image of threat but also of stewardship.

So I jumped when Son Lux and Stephen Petronio announced the one-night-only reproduction of “Like Lazarus Did” at St. Paul’s Chapel in downtown Manhattan as part of the River to River Festival. And I couldn’t help but surreptitiously capture a portion of the magical ballet:

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