Friday September 9, 2011 - Works by Miro Magloire and Emery LeCrone were on the programme for the first night of New Chamber Ballet's 2011-2012 season which played to a standing-room-only audience. On the previous evening, Kokyat and I attended the dress rehearsal where the photos accompanying this article were taken. Above: Katie Gibson and Lauren Toole.
Miro Magloire subscribes to the Balanchine creed: "Ballet is woman." Only once have I seen a male dancer in any of Miro's programmes. Tonight he had six ballerinas dancing, each with her own distinctive personality. The expert musicians - pianist Melody Fader and violinist Miranda Cuckson - underscored the cumulative success of the dancing with their fine playing of some very complex 20th century scores.
Miro also took a turn performing: for the opening work LOVE SONG SOLOS he has transcribed some German lieder selections for maracas. This improbable concept actually works quite well, and Miro's control of dynamics and rhythm served as a setting for the three solos. The dancers - Katie Gibson, Sarah Atkins and Victoria North - wear Candice Thompson's skirted mossy-green costumes. The choreography is demanding; each solo is long and the girls must take their cues from impulse as the music is sometimes etched so delicately by Miro's subtle playing.
Sarah Atkins in LOVE SONG SOLOS.
Luciano Berio, a composer dear to Miro's heart, provides the music for LEISE, LEISE which was the evening's premiere work. Pianist Melody Fader takes center stage to perform the three Berio piano solos; the dancers - in pastel frocks - are seated in a diagonal alongside the piano.
Katie Gibson (above) dances a lyrical solo...
...interrupted by an aggressive Sarah Atkins. Sarah circles Katie who eventually retreats to safety.
Lauren Toole, who has observed the conflict, now steps forward to dance.
As the ballet's dynamic shifts, Sarah suddenly seems vulnerable. The relationships between the three women are subtle and are unresolved as the piece ends quietly.
Sarah & Lauren
LEISE, LEISE is a fine addition to New Chamber Ballet's repertoire, both for the music and for the complexities of the dancers' interactions which invites further exploration. I hope Miro will show it again in his next performances so I can examine the layers in greater detail.
Along with Berio, Miro has a special fondness for the music of Pierre Boulez. For IN A SIMPLE BLACK DRESS, Miro turns to the French composer's Anthemes for solo violin...
...which was intriguingly performed by Miranda Cuckson (above) who seemed to revel in the complex and subtle demands of the score, refining her tone to a whisper in music that tingles and tempts the ear at every moment.
Emily SoRelle Adams, a beautiful woman with a strong communicative gift, performs IN A SIMPLE BLACK DRESS wearing one toe shoe and one soft slipper. Mysterious and self-posessed, the dancer at times seems to be skimming the floor in a carefree waltz; yet she is ever aware of being observed and from time to time she fixes the viewers with her gaze, cool yet provocative.
I've seen Emily in this solo both in the studio and in performance and she always finds new nuances to keep it fresh. Her performance evoked an especially warm audience reaction which she shared with the very impressive Ms. Cuckson.
In the evening's concluding work, New Chamber Ballet's choreographer-in-residence Emery LeCrone sets a whirlwind pace for three dancers - Victoria North, Madeline Deavenport and Lauren Toole, above - in CHAMBER DANCES. The score - John Adams' Road Movies - offers tremendous rhythmic opportunities to a choreographer and Emery has it all well in hand. From the relentless energy of the first movement she proceeds to an andante that is mostly danced by the trio in unison. For the dynamic finale, each dancer is given a sustained solo in which the technical demands are high and the pacing calls for deep reserves of energy; surprisingly, CHAMBER DANCES ends in a brief passage of silence.
Choreographer Emery LeCrone at the dress rehearsal. Emery is currently preparing a ballet to music of Elliott Carter for the Guggenheim's Works and Process series to premiere on October 2nd. In June I saw an early rehearsal for this piece, and we'll be checking out the finished work at an upcoming rehearsal. Emery talks about this project here.
Miro Magloire's New Chamber Ballet will take part in Joyce SoHo's SONiC Festival October 19th - 21st. Miro will be creating a new work to music of Michel Galante. The other participating choreographers will be Deborah Lohse, Darcy Naganuma, and Rebecca Stenn. Details here.
New Chamber Ballet's next performances at City Center Studio are set for November 18th and 19th.
All photos: Kokyat. Some of his Leica black-and-white images from the NCB dress rehearsal appear here.