The title sequence of Robert Altman's "The Company," a fictional verite peek behind the curtain of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, consists of a conceptual dance with rainbow lighting and iridescent strips of fabric used to create a constantly shifting web behind and among the lissome and lively dancers.
Their accompanyment is music seemingly harvested from electronic scales -- bloops and bleeps like something out of "Logan's Run." The cinematography provides the audience's perspective, as well as some shots from the back of the stage looking outward, some from just offstage, silhouetting performers in lighting from vertical scaffolds, and some from high within the scaffolding itself.
There are several such sequences throughout the film (they represent passages of time -- one performance for each season at the Ballet), but this first dance literally sets the stage. Altman is metaphorically announcing his intention to spy on every aspect of his subject from the locker rooms and practice barres to covetous company politics and interpersonal cattiness to calluses, injuries and affairs interfering with ambition.
Continue reading: The Company Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.