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DANCE REVIEW; A Soprano With Scissors, Cutting a Man Down to Size, By Jack Anderson

Sharon Reaves

Ariane Malia Reinhart performed four premieres by leading choreographers in a well-balanced solo program on Friday night at the Joyce SoHo. She was especially satisfying in two works that proved her to be a well-trained soprano as well as a skilled dancer.

Ms. Reinhart sang and danced her way into a snit in ''The Drawing Lesson,'' Doug Varone's maliciously comic portrait of a woman whose lover is unfaithful.

As she sang ''Tu fedel? tu costante?,'' a Handel cantata about inconstancy, her movements and facial expressions grew ever more extravagant. Heightening her rage with a few swigs from a flask, she drew a crude caricature of her lover and then stabbed and castrated it with a scissors.

Ms. Reinhart was vocally secure throughout all her tantrums, and Mr. Varone's choreography allowed her to use her fierce gaze and flashing eyes to fine dramatic effect. She was given capable musical support by an ensemble that included Justin Williams, a keyboardist; Brenda Vincent and Kurt Briggs, violinists; and Christine Gremere, a cellist.

In Martha Clarke's ''2 a.m.,'' Ms. Reinhart offered a smoky-voiced rendition of a song by Kurt Weill. She began by ardently kissing and then recoiling from her shadow on a panel designed by Duane McDevitt. The shadow possibly symbolized an unhappy memory. Ms. Clarke certainly created a sense of despondency as her choreography repeatedly kept Ms. Reinhart, a tall dancer, stretching herself high and taut and then crumpling into a heap.

The two other solos, without songs, were performed to recordings. Stretched on the floor in Shen Wei's ''Body Study,'' Ms. Reinhart moved hypnotically to music by Benjamin Iobst, slowly rising and sinking as she shifted positions. Because she never showed her face to the audience, she seemed no longer a human being but a monumental stone sculpture come alive.

In ''A Room,'' Mark Haim contrasted calm movements set to serene work by Bach with agitated ones choreographed to rattling music by Autrechre. The solo ended when Ms. Reinhart dipped her head into a basin of water as if in a purification ritual. But while the shifts in choreographic intensity were vivid, their dramatic motivations remained shadowy.

The Remains of the Night: Love, Loss and Moving On, By JERRY OSTERBERG

Sharon Reaves

Looking too young to have been absent from the New York cabaret scene for more than a dozen years, Ariane Reinhart was attractive, poised, and confident. She arrived with plenty of firepower – the Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood’s trio—Matthew Rybicki on bass, Jared Schonig on drums.

The eclectic set ranged from Jason Robert Brown (“Someone Else’s Clothes”) to Bill Withers (“Ain’t No Sunshine”), and Adam Guettel (“Awaiting You” and “The Joy You Feel”) to U2/Bono and The Edge (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). Moving among country, rock, jazz and a standard, Reinhart was clearly secure in every genre, even demonstrating a flair for comedy. “Memory” (Andrew Lloyd Webber – music—with special lyrics by Pam Peterson) was hilarious as the audience knowingly identified with the line “Why did I walk into this room?” Especially funny was “Medley – Terror Down the Aisle,” delivered at a dizzying pace after starting as a waltz. Reinhart didn’t drop one stich as she combined several songs to suggest the various stages of falling in love, leading up to the very moment of commitment: “Tonight”; “The Look of Love”; “Love Is Here to Stay”; “I’ll Be Seeing You”; “Somewhere”; “The Way You Look Tonight”; and “Getting Married Today.”

“Ain’t No Sunshine,” performed in a leisurely, jazzy arrangement, was sadder and moodier than usual. An extended piano improvisation infused the piece with the underlying darkness. Reinhart delivered an old torch song, “I Cover the Waterfront” (John Green & Edward Heyman), with all the requisite yearning. From the verse to the final chorus, she created a sultry atmosphere that was simply saturated with fog and cigarette smoke. While the music was a bit loud at times, the volume wasn’t enough to obscure Ariane Reinhart’s gorgeous voice. A warm and gentle ballad would have been a welcome addition to the well-conceived program, directed by nine-time MAC Award recipient Lennie Watts.

Daughter of ADF Directors Dances on Her Own Two Feet, by Jennifer Dunning

Sharon Reaves

When Ariane Malia Reinhart makes her American Dance Festival solo debut at Reynolds Industries Theater today and Wednesday at 8 p.m., she'll have the unusual sensation of having danced on the stage before - and having sat in the audience for many moons.

"This theater and I know each other," Reinhart said during an interview at ADF's summer headquarters in Wilson Dormitory at Duke University.

Much of the dance world and the four choreographers of the pieces she'll be presenting - Martha Clarke, Mark Haim, Doug Varone and Shen Wei - also know Reinhart. Each created a piece exclusively for her.

Ariane, 24, is the daughter of ADF co-directors Charles and Stephanie Reinhart. Though she spent her childhood in New York and still lives there, she literally grew up at the festival, coming summer after summer with her parents.

When ADF moved to Durham from New London, Conn., in 1978, Ariane was a 5-month-old infant. Her development has, in a way, run parallel to that of the institution synonymous with her parents.

"ADF's 25th year [in Durham] is almost my 25th year," said Ariane, who attended the festival's summer school a record 23 times and first danced at Reynolds in 1992.

The decision of ADF's leaders to book their daughter for the season has drawn criticism. Paul Ben-Itzak, editor and publisher of The Dance Insider, wrote in March that he has long admired ADF's commitment to dance but is skeptical about this programming choice.

"Ariane Malia Reinhart may be talented; I haven't seen her in performance, so I can't say," he wrote. "But even if Ms. Reinhart were the second coming of Martha Graham, Marian Anderson, and Sarah Bernhardt combined, she'd still be the daughter of Charles and Stephanie Reinhart, and it would still be highly inappropriate of them to program her at their own theater as part of the ... festival they direct. That these respected leaders of the dance community would take this misstep is a tragically embarrassing blemish on their otherwise salutary records of lifting up the art form."

A graduate of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Reinhart said she realizes that many people will question whether she is making her first solo performance at ADF because her parents run the arts organization.

Her answer: "I tell them to go see the show. You don't want to make judgment on something until you see it. These choreographers are unbelievable people."

She performed this same program to crowds (two sold-out) at the Joyce SoHo in New York last fall. Though her show happened about two weeks after Sept. 11 and she lost about 20 hours of valuable rehearsal time because the recovery efforts closed access to parts of the city, the show garnered positive reviews from The New York Times and the Village Voice.

Her father, Charles, said he understands concerns about nepotism.

"I think it's a good question. I would ask it," he said.

But he said Ariane proved herself in New York, when she came up with the idea of approaching four choreographers on her own.

 

"She showed very good management skills. ... She did the performance under a real glare, 'Oh, my God, it's the Reinharts' daughter.' She had tougher odds than most people because everyone was watching her to watch her fail," Charles said. "And this was her way of getting to do what she wanted to do - combine music and dance."

In two of the works, Varone's "The Drawing Lesson" and Clarke's "2 a.m.," she'll showcase her other talent: singing. Her high-caliber voice is a rare commodity among dancers.

"This is such diverse work, I had wanted to combine music and dance, but not musical theater. I wanted to approach people who were also directors," Ariane said. "So I asked. These people are family to me. It was like 'Auntie Martha.' But they're not the type of people to say yes just because or to feel pressured."

Ariane's bloodline seemed to predestine a career in dance and the arts: a first performance with John Wilson, one of the Joffrey Ballet co-founders, at age 9; a recent background appearance on HBO's "Sex and the City"; administrative work with The Paul Taylor Dance Company; and a singing slot with a New York Gilbert and Sullivan troupe.

But Ariane said her parents did not push her toward their chosen career.

"Actually, it's interesting because they themselves didn't have anything to do with it," she said. "They just kind of stood back and watched. I just wanted to jump in. The only thing they did was encouraging."

Her father remembers when he and wife Stephanie were traveling to promote modern dance abroad about 20 years ago. Ariane went along.

"I think she was maybe 5 years old, and we did our first ADF in Japan. One day, I look up and she was in the front row of a class, and I said, 'Don't let her up there.' The teacher said, 'No, she put herself there,' " he said.

Charles Reinhart still subscribes to a philosophy of hands-off support.

"I'm strictly a father," he said. "I shut up completely unless I'm asked. And I think that maybe she's done that - once or twice."