“The Accidental,” like some other McIntyre works, employs pop music: in this case, four extended songs, close to folk in style, by the Canadian Patrick Watson. The first three are used in successive duets for three male-female couples, with an attractive variety of images of tender, amorous cooperation. Then, unusually, the last number is danced as a solo by one of the men, Alexander Peters; and in this surprising solo the work reaches its most singular and affecting. It’s a bright dance, and yet what it keeps suggesting, very movingly, is youthful perplexity.
The redheaded Mr. Peters, a dancer of marvelous freshness, trained in New York at the School of American Ballet and in 2011 he winningly created the title role in William Whitener’s full-length “Tom Sawyer” at Kansas City Ballet before joining Pennsylvania Ballet soon after. He also danced with Philadelphia’s BalletX at the Joyce Theater last August, in Mr. Neenan’s intensely appealing “The Last Glass.”.
In this final solo, which is in waltz tempo, Mr. Peters never loses his energy or openness; but the directions and dynamics he takes contradict themselves, compellingly. This way? That way. Left? Right. Jump? Walk. At the end, center stage, facing us, he raises one arm. Then, keeping it aloft, he takes his other hand, and slowly brings it down that raised arm, then down and across his torso until it hangs by his side; both arms now make a single vertical line, and his head and torso tip sideways. It’s a weirdly eloquent image (not without sensuousness), suggesting that he is helplessly caught by an impulse larger than he is. This is his fate; he presents it to us, frankly, even sensuously. Marvelous dancer; compelling solo.”
A final male solo abounds in singular incidents: In one fast step, Craig Wasserman arches sideways like a bow while extending one leg like its arrow. He ends both solo and ballet with a slow, marvelous and extraordinary gesture: Standing upright, he first holds his hands together high above his head, but then very slowly peels one hand down — down in a vertical line, down the other arm, down across his chest, down past his hip. As that hand and arm descend, they pull his upper body off-center, so that he seems to be hanging like a puppet from that one, still-raised hand; he seems also to have opened his heart to us.
Mr. Wasserman, boyishly innocent and energetic, becomes more multifaceted as we watch. And Mr. McIntyre confirms his status as one of America’s most peculiarly original dance poets. This performance showed the marvelous musicality of his phrasing. Details of footwork (notably with Evelyn Kocak in the first song) and sweeps of phrasing were married to the music with a felicity that made “The Accidental” the highlight of the evening.”
That aside though, it too revealed some remarkable dancers. The small-statured Oksana Maslova, partnered by the taller and more commanding James Ihde, used the steps and dissonance of their size to create an attention grabbing duet. Maslova gave focus to her power in the various supported leaps and dismissive flicks out of little developpés, and it was completely unexpected to see the almost seductive string of movements these dancers presented coming out of the contained classic fifth position that they assumed at the start of the piece. Another “Accidental” revelation was apprentice Craig Wasserman, whose solo at the end of the piece possessed remarkably seamless continuity of motion – a quality that coupled with the music made the scene feel like one uninterrupted thought in movement. He retained this mesmerizing quality even when he would descend into a full grand plié in fifth position, and then, floor-bound, rotate out of it to elevate himself again.”
Choreographed by: Trey McIntyre
Costumes by: Andrea Lauer
Lighting by: John Hooey
Music: by Patrick Watson
Premiered: May 8, 2014 by Pennsylvania Ballet
Running Time: 18 minutes