Next Step program June 14
Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:33 PM
Andrew Bartee (Fuck Buttons ("Sweet Love for Planet Earth") and The Album Leaf ("Window"))
Kyle Davis (Léo Delibes (“Le Berger”, “Les Chasseresses”, and “Valse Lente” from Sylvia, 1876))
Eric Hipolito, Jr. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Quartet in F Major, K. 590, 1790, Allegro Moderato))
Jonathan Porretta (Johann Sebastian Bach (Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1006, mvts. 1, 5 & 6))
Sean Rollofson (Karl Jenkins (Palladio, 1995))
Price Suddarth (Ólafur Arnalds (“Film Credits” and “Fyrsta” from Living Room Songs, 2011))
Ezra Thompson (Gustav Mahler (“Adagietto” from Symphony No. 5, 1901-1902))
Tickets are already pretty inexpensive, but they announced at the dress rehearsal last night that if you use the promo code "Decade" you can get a ticket for $5!
Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:50 PM
I will have to do some leaping over tall bldgs to get there on 6/14.....but get there, I will!! How can I miss it??
A few things strike me immediately:
1. What will Ezra Thomson's (BTW, no "P") choreography be like? Mahler!!.....good for you, Ezra. I'm a big fan of Ezra's. I'm not surprised he is trying his hand at choreography. I have a feeling this young man is willing to try anything. He has such confidence. I'm going to predict some street moves in this work .
2. Andrew Bartee......so much talent in a long, thin package!
3. I find Kyle Davis to be an unbelievably satisfying lyrical dancer with an innate sense of musicality. I want to see the "flow" in his choreography
4. Porretta and Bach.....I like the sound of that!
Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:20 PM
It's a good looking program, but I have to say I was a little surprised that it was all men. Hoping that's just the luck of the draw this year.
(and the press release spelled Ezra T's name wrong, so at least I've got company...)
Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:42 PM
I have to say I was a little surprised that it was all men.
I must admit I hadn't noticed that......I'm a typical male I suppose .
Posted 25 June 2013 - 11:01 PM
More brief notes, this time about the Next Step program.
This year there were seven choreographers, working in a variety of styles from straight-on classical to highly idiosyncratic contemporary. The set-up has shifted many times over the years, but they seem to have settled on having company members work with PD dancers, in a rehearsal window from January to June. As several people pointed out in the post-show session, that may seem like a long time, but since everyone is working like mad in the spring, it’s very challenging to get time in the studio. It’s ironic, in a way, that the most neophyte choreographers are learning their craft in one of the most difficult situations, catching an hour here and an hour there with whoever’s available at the time. The program included short video interviews from each choreographer – these were made by Lindsay Thomas, who has done some excellent work, seen on the company’s website and in some performances – she doesn’t get enough credit for this.
Kyle Davis: Davis seems to be determined to make a program-length ballet in tiny sections, one a year – in 2012 he choreographed the central pas de deux from Sylvia, and this year he made a couple of ensemble sections from the first act. He said that he first heard the score when he was recuperating from an injury, and “choreographed the entire ballet in my apartment living room.” I don’t know if the living room anecdote is real or just a fun comment, but the material for the ensemble here does look like he didn’t get far enough back to really see the geometry of the space. The vocabulary is strong, and he understands how it articulates with the rhythm of the score, but the stage picture isn’t always as clear as the kinetic material. He gave his cast a good challenge without choreographing far above their skills – that’s not as simple a task as many people think. Some of his tableaux seem to come very directly from the period of the score – they are almost more decorative than we are used to today. If he spends the next several years making more Sylvia puzzle pieces he will have spent his time well.
Sean Rollofson: He’s used the Karl Jenkins score (“Palladio”) that backs the DeBeers ads -- I’ve heard it in several places since that ad campaign premiered and it does have a propulsive quality that can make it a good dance score. Rollofson used that momentum for a women’s quartet on pointe. His strongest material was travelling – he moved his dancers around the space, and on and off stage with great energy. The finer detailing, especially the pointe work, was less developed – he often used what I think of as single event steps, rather than using the pointe to link steps or articulate phrasing. In the post-show chat, he spoke about his use of pointework – he feels that men do pretty much everything that women do, so that making work on pointe isn’t necessarily a significant difference. (I’m not sure I agree with his opinion)
Eric Hipolito: He’s had a big year on stage, and this ballet seemed to use many of the skills he’s been working on as a performer – there were several lovely partnering moments of the “look, no hands!” variety. He had his younger brother in his cast, and in the video he spoke quite charmingly about that relationship. He’s made a sextet, three couples, with some nice, dancey material to a Mozart score. The opening is fairly spare, which is a nice contrast to the busy-ness of the music, but eventually he ramps up the steps to match the score.
Price Suddarth: In his video interview he says that in the past he’s worked with quick and sharp material, and that he wanted to do something more emotional with this work. He’s using a score by Olafur Arnalds for a duet in a contemporary style. The music has a drone-y quality, so many of the structural choices come from the movement rather than the score. I often think it’s difficult for new choreographers to learn the difference between making movement and making a dance – film scores or other ambient music don’t give many clues in creating a choreographic arc with a beginning, middle and end. Suddarth’s ability to craft movement is more developed than his structuring skills – this is very common at his point in the process.
Andrew Bartee: Bartee’s main strength, his ability to develop highly flexible and eccentric movement that makes full use of the strength and articulation that come with ballet training, is in full view here. In the video interview, he spoke about trying to be more clear in teaching his movement to others, rather than continually inventing material on himself. I’m glad he’s aware of that distinction – for a ballet trained dancer, he has very sophisticated improvisational skills, and it would be easy to depend on them, but in the long run he’ll learn a lot from seeing his movement on other bodies. His quartet had a number of powerful moments, but as is often the case with his work, the ingenuity of the vocabulary could be a distraction.
Jonathan Porretta: Porretta chose to work with a familiar Bach score (excerpts from the cello suite) and so we know where something might go long before we see it play out on stage. He’s working with three women, on pointe, in a classical vein, and made a friend of the Bach, especially in terms of momentum. He’s using traditional musical structures (especially canon forms) deftly, although it would have been interesting to see how he managed them with a larger cast. The dancers were challenged by some of his choices, especially in terre a terre sequences. (he mentioned in the post show comments that the cellist from the Youth Symphony was also stepping up to a big challenge) They looked good, and made his work look good as well.
Ezra Thomson: Thomson chose a score from the Youth Symphony’s current repertory, rather than asking them to learn something new, but he mentioned that he’d been planning to make something brighter than the Mahler adagietto from the 5th symphony. This may be why it seemed like he was choreographing across the score at times, pushing the tempos and looking for contrasting qualities. This can be a very sophisticated relationship between the movement and the score, but it is a tricky thing to pull off. All of the works could have benefitted from more time in the studio, but I felt here it was especially true – he asked for some very complicated work from his dancers, and they strove to accomplish what he aimed for, but there were some glitchy moments.
There were a couple of interesting discussions in the post-show Q/A. Aside from Rollofson’s comments on pointework, several others felt that it was a challenge to understand what women could do – both Porretta and Thomason said that they’d worked in pointe shoes themselves (Porretta said he took pointe class for two years when he was a student in New Jersey). Davis, Suddarth, Porretta and Thomson all worked with live music, and were very enthusiastic about the experience, for themselves and for their dancers. When Peter Boal asked which of them would like to work as a choreographer in the future, all but Rollofson and Hipolito said yes. And when they were asked what choreographers they thought of as inspirational, or whose works they might want to dance in the future, it was a Crystal Pite festival. Other names mentioned were Balanchine (everyone nodded vigorously), Wheeldon, Kylian, David Dawson, Ashton, and Alejandro Cerrudo.
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