In the past couple of seasons three new choreographers have emerged on the Gotham dance scene, each with a background at New York City Ballet. Monique Meunier, former NYCB principal, has created works for Columbia Ballet Collaborative (above: Matt Murphy's photo of Craig Hall and Elysia Dawn in Monique's SOLID GROUND)...
...and for Bennyroyce Royon's CHRONOS Project (Kokyat's image above of Victoria North and Luke Manley in ADAM). Monique's choreographic style is fluid and sensuous, strongly lyrical but with an intensity that keeps it distinctive. One senses her passionate spirit in her choreography.
Adam Hendrickson's FLIT OF FURY (Paul Kolnik photo, above), set to a score by Aaron Severini, was premiered at NYCB's Dancers' Choice evening in 2008...
...and his more recent Prokofiev ballet was shown at Yale and at Zankel Hall here in New York City. Above, Adam in the studio with Elysia Dawn, Matthew Renko and Robert Colby Damon in Kokyat's photograph. Athleticism and a keen feeling for rhythmic impulses have marked Adam's work to date, and as a NYC Ballet soloist he has a flair for giving his male dancers especially lively combinations. I'm hoping he will have an opportunity to create a larger work in the near future.
Justin Peck's first choreographic work was for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative's 2009 performances: a duet for Teresa Reichlen and Russell Janzen to music of Joby Talbot (which I didn't see but I should have; rehearsal photo above by Gwyneth Muller). For the Collaborative's 2010 performances, Justin created another duet - ENJOY YOUR RABBIT - which he performed with Tess (Matt Murphy's photo, below).
Justin recently sent me a DVD of a larger-scale work he choreographed at the New York Choreographic Institute in Autumn 2009; he used ten dancers - some from the NYCB roster and others from SAB - to create a really impressive work to the allegro vivace from the Mendelssohn 2nd quintet.
Justin's Mendelssohn ballet (working title: Quintet) uses the classical vocabulary and expresses it with a welcome freshness and vitality; taking his cues from the score, Justin is able to show several things happening simultaneously yet rather than seeming jumbled there's a striking musicality. The movement is non-stop and wit abounds, but it's so gracefully managed (and so superbly danced) that it never seems trite or gimmicky. In a time when new ballets often seem lacking in cohesiveness and are musically uncertain, Justin maintains a strong feeling for structure and of course the music's a pure delight.
Justin not only chose wonderful dancers but then he used them to show off their exciting abilities: a virtuoso performance by Anthony Huxley, the bright spirit of Erica Pereira, a regally tall central couple in Amy Barker and Russell Janzen. Everyone in fact has opportunities to shine, making this the best kind of ensemble ballet.
I watched Quintet three times in a row, and then I played it for Wei (always a good test, since he can be briskly dismissive: but he liked it very much). Just as I was writing this I decided to watch it again to make sure it's as good as I think it is. And it is. I'd very much like to see Justin's ballet presented as the in-house new ballet for the next Dancers' Choice evening.
Now I look forward to watching more works by these three choreographers - Monique, Adam and Justin - each of whom seems to have something to say that we need to see.