Tharp and Costello's NIGHTSPOT: Shocked and Awed

It seems fitting that Miami would be the city to host the world premiere of Twyla Tharp's NIGHTSPOT, an energetic work that fit together in a discordant yet stunningly compelling way.

Splashes of classical ballet, Broadway, Cirque du Soleil, fight clubs and Latin dance percolated constant curiosity throughout this highly anticipated work.

Tharp, and musical innovator, Elvis Costello, collaborated on the piece that was Miami City Ballet's first major commission. Costello's original music, played by a nine piece onstage band along with the orchestra underlined and bolded Tharp's varied choreography, as did costumes in shades of red and fuchsia designed by Isaac Mizrahi.

Grand jetés and pirouettes gracefully transitioned into jazz and salsa steps. Tharp toyed with traditional ballet gender roles in the work as a lusty, principal female became the aggressor and the male dancer was the broken, frail one. The first male principal solo was filled with karate-like kicks that transitioned into ballet leaps, making for a spectacularly bad-ass ballet.

There were only brief moments when the work felt forced. A movement highlighting a swath of long red silk felt like an imitation of an artful circus and, at times, the multiple partner dances seemed too West Side Story. Overall, NIGHTSPOT felt refreshing, cacophonous and cohesive --very much like an evening in the Magic City.

--Janine Zeitlin