Ben Munisteri's Antimony (51) at BAM Fisher [is] quiet, unassuming, lovely... This isn’t to say that the choreography is easy – in fact, with its segmented penchés and slowly promenading partnering, it's anything but; it has an easy dynamic flow. Frankly, I don’t miss the flashiness so easy to find in other troupes... The word “antimony” itself apparently means a logical paradox, something that is easy to spot in Mr. Munisteri’s fascination with symmetrical and mirrored choreography.
—Rachel Rizzuto, Bachtrack Ltd., 2016
Your average choreographer is not a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, nor is he making a dance named for the 51st element in the periodic table. Brooklyn native Ben Munisteri is way above average...
—Elizabeth Zimmer, The Village Voice, 2016
Catalog is a highly skillful display of evolving structural patterning, [but] most successful is the new glittery-costumed sextet Robot vs. Mermaid, in which Mr. Munisteri evokes a strange, alluring world as well as displays his sophisticated structural intelligence.
—Rosyln Sulcas, The New York Times, 2011
Munisteri is a formalist, a real patternmaker, capable of distributing a design of engrossing complexity across multiple bodies or just one, and making it legible. Catalog, from 2009, sets its clockwork to Radiohead songs. Binary 2.0 matches its counterpoint partnering to Debussy. The mechanical character of those dances carries into at least the title of the premiere, Robot vs. Mermaid.
—Village Voice, summer arts issue, 2011
Ben Munisteri...audaciously shuttled no fewer than 15 dancers onto the small stage. Amazingly, the stage never seemed crowded—in fact, there were times when the great number of dancers seemed, incongruously, to open up the space. In one section, for example, a few dancers wove through a crowd—on a shallow diagonal, downstage to upstage—thus creating the illusion of depth. He also included carefully balanced lifts, which created another spatial plane with which to work.
—Hanna Oldsman, California Literary Review, 2011
Mr. Munisteri is an established choreographer with a reputation for formal skill and the ability to create pieces full of life and color. He doesn’t disappoint in “Binary,” presented as a work in progress... “Binary” uses both opposition and unity as structural devices... Munisteri constructs a fun house of mirrored dance images. Munisteri has the ability to suggest both the absurdity and the reassuring potential of the human body.
—Rosyln Sulcas, The New York Times, 2010
Catalog almost immediately indicated that Mr. Munisteri’s virtues are very considerable. His choreography frequently uses dance versions of complex polyphony.... [All his dances] were complex, arresting, with each dancer very sharply presented as an individual. Space was frequently decentralized; groups were seldom symmetrical.... The dancers were as accomplished as the choreography, with strong footwork, firm jumps and turns, and remarkable coordination. The mixture of staccato and legato in their dynamics is always striking. Just as you’re admiring the Merce Cunningham-like rigor of legs and torsos, suddenly—sometimes within a phrase—there’ll be a pelvis wiggle or an animal-like head-circling that makes the dancers look interestingly self-contradictory. At times the dancers have an upper body fluidity that recalls Trisha Brown... Other choreographic voices also seem present in Mr. Munisteri’s head; all of them here seemed welcome and none predominant... [T]his first impression of Mr. Munisteri’s work...was principally one of a wealth of possibilities. Those pure-dance quintets of Catalog were riveting. Moment by moment, who could tell what would happen next?
—Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times, 2009
Larger-scale works came from Ben Munisteri and John Jasperse, both demonstrating just how good these choreographers are. Mr. Munisteri’s “Remix” showed his beautifully constructed ensemble work and acute eye for visual effect as six dancers moved in fluid counterpoint.
—Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, 2008
It is the fluid, expansive movement and the skill with which Mr. Munisteri creates and dissembles his spatial patterns that are the real interest of [Terra Nova].
—Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, 2007
[Terra Nova's] choreography itself is typical Munisteri, lucid and ingenious, a bright and brave new world of dance invention.
—Brian Siebert, The New Yorker, 2007
Tuesday, 4 a.m. is a splendid dance whose small beauties and whimsical flourishes are pieced into a satisfying overarching design. The dance covers horizontal space with sweep and verve—then shifts focus, placing three couples in a staggered line. There is an assured flow to these movements, as if their architect was working in clear, intuitive bursts. And the choice of Stravinsky is inspired—his headstrong music pairs well with Mr. Munisteri's love of spontaneous digressions and unexpected counts.
—Joy Goodwin, The New York Sun, 2006
Wildy engaging, ...Munisteri's dances are full-bodied choreographic feasts.... This is about the delight of sumptuous movement.
—David Lyman, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 2006
Ben Munisteri’s made a masterpiece to Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra., It’s called Tuesday, 4 a.m. This is cool, heartbreaking dance without a tear; it hits you deeply, as great dance should. I’ve not seen a finer new dance in ages: It’s not only the best dance to Stravinsky since Balanchine, but Munisteri stands tall as a master on his own.
—Francis Mason, WQXR, 96.3 FM, New York, 2006
I’ve been waiting a long time for an American ballet choreographer to make a dance as intriguing and novel as Ben Munisteri’s Turbine Mines… Munisteri is expanding the ballet repertory in a less cryptic and intellectualized manner than his peers (for example, William Forsythe), and the results are riveting.
—Theodore Bale, Boston Herald, 2005
[The concert] was a potpourri of movement by a master of the eclectic.
—Jack Anderson, The New York Times, 2005
Munisteri deserves the often lavish praise he's received for his craftsmanship. His dances are not about breaking your heart. The choreography presents clear, hard-edged designs, both in terms of space patterns and bodily movements…. Munisteri's smart choreography is never predictable.
—Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, 2005
[Munisteri] is intriguingly unpredictable…but he doesn't just throw disparate elements together. There is surprising flow to his phrases, and it is startling how easily, almost casually, his skilled dancers make bizarre transitions. Turbine Mines featured exquisite, inventive partnering, as dancers swung under and around one another like cogs in an intricate machine.
—Karen Campbell, Boston Globe, 2005
[A] kind of preordained, primeval partnership powers the work of Ben Munisteri…. His dancers appear to be inspired less by human emotion than by an instinctual drive that unfailingly takes them where they’re meant to be.”
—Tresca Weinstein, Albany Times Union, 2005
[With] a sense of boundless joy in the sheer process of choreographic invention. ...[Munisteri] was both serious and inventive. [In] his new dance, Turbine Mines,... the dancers often seemed caught up in an adventure in which they were propelled by a mysterious and inescapable kinetic force. His choreography is meticulously organized.... Every fragment was vibrant.
—Jack Anderson, The New York Times, 2004
Visceral , finely constructed dances... wild and vigorous.
—Valerie Gladstone, The New York Times, 2004
Sheer invention...Munisteri exposes his process as Mozart exposed the sonata form. Both make it easy to take pleasure in the elegant unfolding of structure. Munisteri’s vocabulary might be quirky, but he is a classical architect of temporal form.... Munisteri's Terminal Event is a 16-minute masterpiece of eight-dancer geometry, multi-leveled rhythmic interplay (dancer to the jazzy music and dancer to dancer) and celebration of the virtuosic body. Each of the three sections grows with the inevitable beauty of a flower, one that is new to the viewer and abounds with unlikely color and winding tendrils.
—Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 2004
Turbine Mines, to Vangelis’ soundtrack from Blade Runner, is a beam up to an off-world-colony, where we melt in slavish adoration. In polyamide costumes of interference colors, the sci-fi dancers hold their ground with deep organic pelvic rotations. Danica Holoviak makes an authoritative sweep in an expressive duet and caps off this heartwarming performance that brings the house to its feet.
—Lori Ortiz, offoffoff.com, 2004
Munisteri managed to integrate his odd, striking brand of movement into this environment so that the six dancers looked like natives of the place, not tourists or intruders. He presented the human form as civic sculpture of bygone idealistic days. Facing the viewer straight-on with a clear-eyed gaze, handsome athletic bodies made large, clear, energetic moves that looked like metaphors for optimism. This stuff works best when Munisteri enriches it with excursions into the oblique that provide the subtlety and mystery on which dancing thrives.
—Tobi Tobias, The Village Voice, 2003
The slightly skewed patterns on the stage are invariably beautiful.... Munisteri moves his dancers through drastic shifts in velocity and more subtle shifts in style without ever losing the clarity of his design.... It brought tears to my eyes.
—Alicia Mosier, danceinsider.com, 2001
Munisteri displays very smart, beautifully controlled dancing that's wild at the core. How did a confessed club kid who once performed Doug Elkins’s deconstructed hip-hop develop a selective sense regarding ballet? ... [A]ll Munisteri's movement and space patterns, no matter how idiosyncratic and skewed, maintain the tension of ballet and its linear clarity.
—Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice, 2000
A real original in the way he moves his extraordinary dancers, ... Munisteri is a rare artist: The maker of new dance for Balanchine fans.
—Francis Mason, WQXR, 96.3 FM, New York, 1998