On Friday night I had the opportunity to see Big, a collaborative production between Antoine "Big Boi" Patterson and the Atlanta Ballet. In a word it was... mesmerizing. The Atlanta Ballet really is a dance company to be reckoned with both in sheer talent and innovation. Tara Lee, the lead dancer, was phenomenal; she blended modern dance with classical movements that resulted in a sort of articulated flow that’s reminiscent of an emerging butterfly, a little awkward a little ethereal. The high points were Tara’s opening, a piece choreographed to Church, a pas de duex where one dancer was suspended from the ceiling, a double pas de duex with a balance bar (outrageous), and the amazing and show stopping performance with Janelle Monae singing "Sincerely Jane". Wearing a silver lame’ jacket, tutu and ballet slippers, Janelle fluttered, hopped, glided and moonwalked along with another dancer while she belted out the tune. The crowd loved it. It was awesome, and not in the California dude way, but awesome in the way that you notice the sun turning a burning orange before it plunges into the horizon.
There were low points as well. The performance was cut short, very short. According to www.news-bite.com there should have been at least four or more choreographed pieces, including another performance by Janelle. There was also a terrible clash of the different ends of the spectrum on "Kryptonite" which seemed to just be too loud and out of place with the movements of the dancers, something that was indeed a struggle on many of the pieces. There was so much to take in you were sometimes distracted by one art form at the expense of the other. Big Boi seemed completely out of place whenever he was on stage and his need to interact with the audience seemed desperate. I was grateful the performance didn’t turn into a concert, where the dancers were drowned out by loud whistling and dancing in the aisles, though some of the "cousins" were acting up. Even if food is served in a venue, it is the ballet, popcorn and chips are not appropriate. It was a limited engagement so I doubt one will be able to experience it again, but I do know that it has inspired me to dance again.