On January 24, 1975, a 29-year-old American arrived to play a solo concert at the opera house in Cologne. Sleepless and hungry, he discovered that he had been furnished a shoddy piano and nearly refused to perform.
The recording from that concert, over an hour of mercurial improvisation, went on to become the bestselling piano album in music history.
To the first 30 minutes of Keith Jarrett’s legendary The Köln Concert, Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa has crafted Prism. It’s a reverie for 10 dancers, delivered last night by Silicon Valley Ballet with allure and panache as part of the company’s "Director’s Choice" program.
Prism takes unexpected turns in concert with Jarrett’s improvisations, which hint at gospel, blues, lilting folk melodies, Rachmaninoff, and shimmering pattern music. The dancers weave in and out of each other’s orbit with astonishing fluidity. Though the couplings and triplings are evanescent, moments of stillness yield eloquent, poignant tableaux. When the score turns minimalist, however, Lopez Ochoa wittily mocks contemporary psychosexual ballet -- her dancers emerge in clingy leotards with a spidery motif and chic diaphanous gloves, and contort themselves in byzantine poses.
Jarrett’s famous vocalizations are heard throughout the score: murmuring, groaning, sighing, crooning, and a satisfied “Yeahhh” – at which moment Lopez Ochoa ships in a couple in bright pink and orange. Among the crackerjack cast on opening night, Ommi Pipit-Suksun made sensational body lines.