Above: Jon Bond in Kylian's Indigo Rose
Tuesday May 7th, 2013 - Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet's 2013 season at The Joyce has been on my calendar in huge red letters for weeks: some of Gotham's most glorious movers are members of this Company, and the repertory entices: Jiří Kylián's Indigo Rose, Crystal Pite's 2008 Cedar Lake hit Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, and a world premiere entitled Horizons by the Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis, the man who created one of my all-time super-favorite danceworks, his Rite of Spring which I saw twice at Joyce SoHo in 2008, danced by the breath-taking Ioanna Toumpakari.
The Joyce was packed for tonight's opening; there are some new dancers on the Cedar Lake roster and as the evening progressed we began to get a sense of them in terms of both movement and personality. Meanwhile the established favorites look hotter than ever.
Above: Ebony Williams and Joaquim de Santana in Indigo Rose; photo by Paula Lobo. Click on the image to enlarge.
Indigo Rose, Jiří Kylián's 1998 work currently having its Cedar Lake premiere this season, was an exciting opening work. The score reaches way back to JS Bach and Couperin and also to more recent 20th century works by Robert Ashley and John Cage. Brilliant lighting and abrupt shifts in pacing and mood keep interest high throughout. At one point a vast white curtain of parachute silk comes unfurling across the space on a diagonal. The dancers perform both in front of and behind this illuminated drape, with powerful lights projecting their shadows in various sizes. There were illusions of large vs small dancers...and the dancing was non-stop.
Billy Bell, a marvelous new addition to the Company, had the opening solo in Indigo Rose which he delivered with panache. Ebony Williams and Joaquim de Santana danced a sensual adagio, and Cedar Lake icons Jon Bond and Jason Kittelberger look perfect as always. Vania Doutel Vaz, Navarra Novy-Williams, Jin Young Won and Joseph Kudra are among the newer Company members, each giving the Kylián choreography a personal vitality.
As Indigo Rose nears its conclusion, the dancers freeze as black-and-white projections of some of them float in the air overhead. This rather quizzical ending seemed a bit at odds with what came before, but nevertheless the overall effect of the work was pleasing to both eye and ear.
Crystal Pite's Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue is something of a Cedar Lake signature work. Set in a semi-circle of spotlights which give Rescue a sort of prison-yard feeling, this series of dark duets flow seamlessly on a score by Cliff Martinez culled from the film Solaris. An outstanding quintet of Cedar Lake dancers are featured: superstars Ebony Williams, Nickemil Conception and Jon Bond are joined by newcomers Ida Saki and Guillaume Queau. It was wonderful to experience this work again, so perfectly executed; I'm always grateful when Cedar Lake dip into their treasury of repertoire and revive pieces from time to time, keeping them fresh.
On that subject, might I take this opportunity to request the Company delve into the archives and bring us back their Veggetti and Celis works?
Since seeing his Rite in 2008, I have been waiting to experience more of Andonis Foniadakis' work here in New York City while in the meantime keeping tabs on his European successes via the Internet. Horizons as it turns out was well worth the wait: choreographer and dancers felt like a perfect match as the ballet unfolded to a Julien Tarride score.
Above: from Horizons; photo by Paula Lolo. Click on the image to enlarge.
In Horizons, Andonis shows us the restless energy of contemporary urban life; the detached voice of a narrator gives advice and instructions to the community. Agitated ensemble movement freezes from time to time giving us pause to contemplate the kinetic rush of our daily experiences. The dancers, in grey with maroon accents, move with flair thru this cityscape: relationships form and disperse, complex partnering motifs are tossed off with compelling surety.
Following a series of brightly lit, theatrical duets, Clifton Taylor's lighting turns to burnished gold as the dancers appear in silhouette; out of the huddled masses a tall and mysterious couple loom up: Jin Young Won and Guillaume Queau. In soft cream-coloured garments, these two entrancing artists perform a luminously intimate final duet as rain begins to fall. As a counter-point to the earlier turbulent energy, this duet finds the couple expressing a connection with nature and with each other, removed from the choas of urbanity.
The audience went wild for the dancers at the end; it was an extremely satisfying programme and my only regret was that Acacia Schachte danced only in the Foniadakis, and that Ana-Maria Lucaciu and Matthew Rich weren't dancing tonight. Among the audience: Janet Eilber, Ethan Stiefel, Gillian Murphy, Josh Beamish, Kyle Abraham, John Zullo and Manuel Vignoulle.