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Choreographers' Showcase: Wed, 21 April, 7:00pm

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Next week is the annual Choreographers' Showcase. Please note that the time is 7:00pm.

Pieces by Andrew Bartee, Barry Kerolis, Margaret Mullen, Seth Orza, and Jonathan Porretta have been choreographed on Professional Division students.

Here is the video on YouTube:

The score for the video is by William Lin-Yee.

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A little late, but here are some observations about the program

Choreographer’s Showcase

The program was very well attended this year, with what seemed like a large contingent of parents and dancers from the school, from the ‘friends and family’ category. In the past, the company has tried several different formats for this project, using student dancers or dancers from the company, shifting the venue, emphasis and marketing, and they have each had their strengths, but it seems they might stick with this approach for a while. On the plus side, this gives some of the advanced and professional division students another opportunity to work in a creative process, which isn’t always a part of their standard curriculum. And for the nascent choreographers, working with students forces them to grapple with the small details of dance making, the little fixes that their professional colleagues might make for them during rehearsals. I did miss the extra zing of seeing company dancers performing in their colleague’s work, sometimes moving outside their usual style or exploring a different part of their skills. I am a greedy girl – I’d like to see all of it, but at this point, this may be the best compromise.

Spring Waltz

Each dance is preceded by a little video profile, projected on a downstage scrim. This made for a great deal of watching curtains rise and fall, but it was nice to get a look at some rehearsal footage and disingenuous interviews with the choreographers. (alas, the videos don’t seem to be credited in the program, which is an unfortunate gaffe) During his interview, Jonathan Poretta talked about his desire to make a “pretty dance” but in fact, he made two. Although both works were waltzes, and some of the cast overlapped in parts, there wasn’t a real throughline or deep connection between the two sections. It’s tricky to work with different composers within the same dance – the more natural connections between sections aren’t necessarily there. But he gave his dancers some lovely things to do and they repaid him with a blithe performance.

Anxiety Variations

Barry Kerollis is continuing to challenge himself with these opportunities. In the past, he’s used a wide variety of material, but had had some difficulty organizing it and moving his dancers on and off stage coherently. This time around he’s got a five section work with some real thematic development and interesting use of non-standard vocabulary. In his pre-show video, he spoke about breathing and discomfort. As an asthmatic, he’s used his own physical reaction to breathlessness to create a very nice set of gestures. He’s still got more ideas going on than space to really develop them, but his use of pointe work is becoming more fluid.


Orza mentions in his little interview that he feels more adept making dance for men than for women, and that does seem to be so. This is a good start – he moves people on and off stage cleanly, introduces ideas and follows up on them, gives the performers movement they’re capable to making look good – now he needs to do this several more times so it becomes second nature. If I could make a suggestion, I’d like to see what he would make with music that has a more assertive structure. In general, film scores are created with the visuals of the film already in place – they can be quite thrilling, but they are responding to someone else’s editorial decisions. When choreographers use them, they often come off seeming like aural wallpaper, but unlike the Brian Eno ambient work, they aren’t really meant for that.


Andrew Bartee and Margaret Mullin have worked together before, on a duet for themselves, and they’ve made the transition to working with other people and working with a larger group very well. Their piece was witty, kinetic, musical – a pleasure to watch. They aren’t so very far from the world that their dancers are experiencing, and that seemed to color their choices – they asked a lot from their performers, but they didn’t ask for anything that they weren’t really capable of doing.

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