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Ballet Builders 2007 at Florence Gould Hall

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 31, 2007
Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
About the Author:


Ballet Builders 2007
www.balletbuilders.org
Presented by
New Choreographers On Point

Ruth Chester, Executive Director
Michael Kraus, Artistic Director
Lighting Designer: Ted Sullivan
Stage Manager: Christine Lemme

Works by: Christophe Garcia, Jennifer Hart,
David Justin, Graham Lustig, Gina Patterson,
Robert Sher-Machherndl, Kelly Ann Sloan

Presented at Florence Gould Hall
(Gould Hall Website)
55 East 59th Street
NY, NY

Press: AudreyRossPub@aol.com
(See Ballet Builders 2006 Review). New Choreographers On Point, founded in 1990 by Ruth Chester and Michael Kraus, assists new choreographers to realize their concepts and helps them perform their works. Ballet Builders helps choreographers in the genre of ballet. Distinguished ballet professionals choose the works to be performed. (Program Notes).

"Choreographers are selected by panel, and this year's winners are seven dance-makers from Canada and around the U.S., representing companies from Texas, Florida, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Colorado, and Montreal, giving New York a chance to see the work of choreographers who are active in ballet companies around the country. All ballets are New York premieres". (Press Notes)

Program:

Solemn Opus: The Journey of Lost and Found (NY Premiere): Choreography by David Justin, Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57, String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110), Costumes by Sarah Hopkins, Original lighting design by Katy Hallee, Performed by Stephanie Campbell, Kirstin Grbic, Julie Janecka, Erin Lane, Nicole Whiteside.

This lovely and dynamic ballet was choreographed by David Justin, founder and Artistic Director of Dance of American Repertory Ensemble. With Sarah Hopkins' long black skirts and Justin's design of outstretched arms, the all female ensemble flowed radiantly through the Shostakovich score. A technical sound glitch brought these dancers out twice, and they never lost their poise or posture. In fact, the choreography, evocative of some of the Graham Ensemble work, although ballet slippers were worn here, was fascinating in the group imagery. Katy Hallee's lighting was effective.

The Rest Is Secret (NY Premiere): Choreography by Kelly Ann Sloan, Music: Japanese Melodies performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Traditional, Performed by Jay Goodlett and Sarah Hairston. This was one of my favorite works, as these two performers exuded chemistry and mystery. Ms. Hairston and Mr. Goodlett are dancers to watch, with muscular intensity and aggressive abandon. In fact, they are excellent ambassadors for Cincinnati Ballet, where they both dance as Soloists. Kelly Ann Sloan is a dancer with LA Ballet and recently danced with Cincinnati Ballet.

Everything that Grows (NY Premiere): Choreography by Jennifer Hart, Music by Ludwig van Beethoven (Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Adagio cantabile), Costumes by Tulle and Dye, Lyle Jackson, and Ellen Roeder, Performed by Mifa Ko and Ramon Thielen. Ms. Ko, in ballet slippers, was superbly partnered by Ramon Thielen, as they utilized a bench as stage prop. The Beethoven score filled Gould Hall. Jennifer Hart has danced with LA Chamber Ballet and Minnesota Dance Theatre and has received numerous commissions. Mr. Thielen and Ms. Ko were a breath of spring.

Liquid Eyes (NY Premiere): Choreography by Gina Patterson, Music by Jeff Buckley (You and I, Hallelujah), Costumes by Yo Ma Ma, Performed by Gina Patterson, Eric Midgley, Michelle Thompson, and Jim Stein. Gina Patterson, a seasoned choreographer for Ballet Austin and Ballet Florida, among other companies, was one of four dancers on stage in push-pull, gravitational motion. The two couples danced to Jeff Buckley's music with daring, interwoven symmetry.

North Star (Premiere): Choreography by Graham Lustig, Music by Philip Glass (Closing, River Run, Étoile Polaire), Performed by Peng-Yu Chen and Li-Chuan Lin. Whenever Philip Glass' music is utilized for dance, an extra mesmerizing force ensues. North Star was no exception. Graham Lustig, a British dancer and choreographer for Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and Artistic Director of American Repertory Ballet, brought Peng-Yu Chen out in pointe shoes with a contemporary motif. Her partner, Li-Chan Lin, who, along with Ms. Chen is a dancer in Mr. Lustig's ballet company, added force and drama to this riveting work.

Tiger Lily (Excerpt, NY Premiere): Choreography by Robert Sher-Machherndl, Music by Arvo Pärt (Lamentate), Costumes by Jenifer Sher, Performed by Tessa Victoria and Robert Sher-Machherndl. Mr. Sher-Machherndl, a three-time winner of the Ballet Builders Award, and also a seasoned dancer with such companies as Bavarian State Ballet, has produced 17 original evening-length works. Tiger Lily, danced to Arvo Pärt's soulful score, brought Mr. Sher-Machherndl onstage with Ms. Victoria, and they created intriguing lines and elegant figures.

les rêveuses (NY Premiere): Choreography by Christophe Garcia, Music by Adolph Adam (Excerpt from Giselle), Original lighting design by Jean François Milazzo, Performed by Soula Trougakos, Marie-Eve Carrière, and Céline Giachero. Whenever classical ballet motifs are "borrowed" for campy takeoffs, the end result is disappointing. Giselle, one of my favorite ballets, seemed to be disrespected in this vaudevillian invention. The dancing, however, was impeccable, and Christophe Garcia, a former dancer with the Béjart Ballet, designed challenging, low-stage crawling and winding dance for his three-female performers.

Kudos to Ruth Chester and Michael Kraus for another successful Ballet Builders showcase in 2007.
Sarah Hairston and Jay Goodlett performing Kelly Ann Sloan's 'The Rest is Secret.'

Sarah Hairston and Jay Goodlett performing Kelly Ann Sloan's "The Rest is Secret."

Photo © & courtesy of Peter Mueller


Gina Patterson & Eric Midgley in 'Liquid Eyes' by Gina Patterson. photographer is Todd Rosenberg

Gina Patterson & Eric Midgley in "Liquid Eyes" by Gina Patterson. photographer is Todd Rosenberg

Photo © & courtesy of Todd Rosenberg


Robert Sher-Machherndl

Robert Sher-Machherndl

Photo © & courtesy of David Andrews


Ruth Chester, Exec Director, and Michael Kraus, Artistic Director

Ruth Chester, Exec Director, and Michael Kraus, Artistic Director

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Jay Goodlett and Sarah Hairston at Leisure

Jay Goodlett and Sarah Hairston at Leisure

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

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