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Arch Contemporary Ballet Premieres A New Ballet using American Sign Language and Poem by Luis Pons

by Annie Yang
May 19, 2017
Davenport Theatre
354 W 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 956-0948
Click on PDF link below to see Exclusive Photostory
Photostory 'Hues of Memory' Arch Contemporary Ballet Sheena Annalise x Luis Pons.pdf
Arch Contemporary Ballet, in its mission to launch ballet and music to an inclusive 21st century audience, performs a world premiere by Artistic Director Sheena Annalise, presented by the Davenport Theatre, 354 W 45th St., New York, NY, with four performances Tuesday, May 30th – Thursday, June 1st at 8:00 pm.

As a rising pioneer for ballet and music, Annalise's choreography unveils unconventional lines of a dancer's body in the world premiere ballet, 'Hues of Memory'. American Sign Language is seamlessly integrated into the movement of two pas de deuxs, three-dimensionally revealing the poetic debut of world renowned photographer, Luis Pons. The bi-lingual interpretation of dance and ASL transports the audience to lush landscapes galvanized by romantic memory. Award winning composer Matthew AC Cohen sets the temperature of the work with a euphoric guitar and violin score performed by Arch Sound Ensemble, and displayed visually with synced lighting technology to the vibrations of the instruments. The theatre space is encapsulated with a greenery maze, setting the backdrop for this madly passionate work and an extension of the photo story series created by Annalise and Pons leading up to the performance.

“Arch Contemporary Ballet (ACB) challenges the past and launches into the future with new pointe work, new music, and new ideas about the potential of ballet,” remarks Annalise. “I’ve drawn inspiration about communicating our memories through different language forms and was inspired by ASL. Pons’s secret stashes of poems were the perfect backdrop for my vision. We continue to portray themes relevant to today, and create work to resonate with new audiences. We want ballet to be and continue to be relevant to the entire community.” Pons adds, “Poetry explains without having to explain, the depth and great heights of the human condition. Annalise's work embodies how I would visually see my words into movement which made it a perfect fit - the innovation of integrating other art forms translated to this whirlwind of artistry around my poetic story.”

There will be an autism friendly modified performance on Wednesday, May 31st at 6:00 pm as part of ACB’s Arch for Autism Initiative.

Tuesday, May 30th 8:00 pm
Wednesday, May 31st 6:00 pm (Autism Friendly performance)
Wednesday, May 31st 8:00 pm
Thursday, June 1st 8:00 pm
Running time 30 minutes

Advanced general admission tickets are $25, VIP tickets are $35.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.archballet.com.

Katelyn Somers, Andy Fernandez, Tori Hey, Henry Max McCall.

The Davenport Theatre is located at 354 W 45th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenue in Manhattan and is accessible by Subway A,C,E at 42 St Port Authority Bus Terminal and 1,2,3,N,Q,R,7,S at Times Sq 42 St.


Founded in 2013, New York City's Arch Contemporary Ballet was established with a bold spirit and innovative vision to create an artistic process that enhances the connection between ballet and music. All of ACB’s works are choreographed without music. Commissioned composers then create an original music score for each repertoire program. In addition to her innovative way of joining movement and music, Artistic Director and choreographer, Sheena Annalise, challenges classicism with a cutting-edge approach to partnering, pairing women on pointe together as partners. ACB has performed across the country including the Paramount Theatre in Boston, Tempe Center for the Arts in Tempe, AZ, Marlene Boll Theatre in Detroit, New York City's Sheen Center, and more. Learn more at www.archballet.com.


Artistic Director and choreographer, Sheena Annalise, at age 14, was honored to work with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance in “Equator Project”, nurturing her choreographic talent. She quickly found a distinct voice by creating innovative body lines and exploring her fascination with the connection between movement and music. In her early work she began to play with creating her own tempos, accents, and pauses in her ballets without the limitations of existing music. Looking to accentuate her silent yet rhythmic choreography, she developed her artistic process of commissioning artists to create music specifically to each repertoire program. Annalise spent 2012 mentoring with the Mark Morris Dance Group, when she then founded Arch Contemporary Ballet the following year. Through ACB she has received residencies and space grants throughout NYC and has been named a “Prodigy” by The Women’s Project.


Arch for Autism is an initiative for families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensitivity issues to come together and enjoy the benefits of dance and music. Our goal is to make ballet and music accessible to all by including Autism Friendly performances during our performance season. Adjustments to the production include reduction of obscure lighting, shorter running time, and reduction of any sudden sounds. Plus, there will be areas in the lobby for quiet time or activities staffed with autism specialists for those who need to leave their seats during the performance.


Matthew A.C. Cohen has composed and performed around the globe and is a Remi Platinum Award winner for the short film"@Social #Connection". He attended Hofstra University, where he got a B.S. in Music Theory/Composition, with special interests in Film Scoring, Jazz Improvisation and arranging, and orchestration, and went on to get an MFA in Scoring for Media from Columbia College Chicago. He writes for network television shows, including "Reign" and "Vikings", studio films including "Brick Mansions", "The Funhouse Massacre", and "Christmas Land", and triple A video game titles including "Dragon Age: Inquisition”. He is a versatile and inventive musician and composer.


Luis Pons is a New York based world renowned dance photographer whose images are described as eternal, exquisite, and breathtakingly memorable. His photography envisions the pursuit of beauty, symmetry, color and contrasts and is noted for capturing fleeting moments in the human experience. The defining moments where all the energies in the human heart, body and spirit fuse together at 1/500th of a second, are captured eternally by his work. His motivation for photography is to remind himself of the potential in all of us to be beautiful, serene and at peace, and he shares this reminder to the world through his photographs. His work can be seen in publications across the world, such as Buzzfeed, HuffPost Arts & Culture Feature, Elle, Epoch Times, Capezio’s world campaign, to name a few and he has captured the most distinguished ballet dancers from ballet companies throughout the world including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Arch Contemporary Ballet, and more.

Hues of Memory Ballet Poem |'Memory' by LUIS PONS | Choreography by Sheena Annalise

I have only seen you in these three years like sunlight through a white veil.

Ethereal and diffused, your silhouette like a curved black river through which time had frozen my heartbeat.

In the wind you sway gently, out of reach…
If any man has ever embraced memory, I have…
If any man has ever loved memory, I have…

I stood outside that great door to the ark that housed all our memories.
My broken fingernails like little steps embedded in your heart as you float away with everything that was mine.

This cleansing rain, who is it for?

Swept out to sea.
Unfathomable ocean roar
In the depths I swallow salt and remember your taste…
I remain stained with memory.

In your crucible of truth my hope died.
Left with vague pictures in my mind that I was loved by something grand, that I walked with her in the summer, somewhere green under a blue sky.

A vision of cathedral ceilings filled with golden stars.
A dead end road where a river appeared and kisses under a high moon.

This shell with a heartbeat wakes, walks and sleeps with memory.
So that any hand that touches feels cold and any words that might be said in love are ignored.

My heart beats wildly for you as If to implore you to hear that it has found the answer to the question it never asked. I held your hand to the thundering of my heart. And you knew in that moment I was alive for you and only you.

My love for you dies in blinding hues of lilacs, reds and blues…

Like bones that have passed through great fires and glow in bright gold and white before turning to dust…
You tried to wake me from this sleep but I fell through too many layers of your silk.
Unlocked too many doors into the paradise that is you
You will never find me to push me out.

In your gardens, I am the lowly dandelion that you walk past to smell your roses.

In your forests, I am the moss that faces north on the old oaks that you dance under.

On your shores, I am the white foam at your feet….

Upcoming Events

May 30 - Jun 1 Spring Season II : World Premiere
May 31st - Autism Friendly Performance
Jun 1 Cocktails & Conversation for Patrons
Aug 7 - 13 Summer Ballet Intensive at NY City Center
Aug 7 - 13 Summer Composer's Intensive at NY City Center
Aug 12 - Autism Friendly Performance
Aug 11 - 13 Summer Performance Season at Sheen Center
For more events go to our calendar @ www.archballet.com
Arch Contemporary Ballet's Katelyn Somers.

Arch Contemporary Ballet's Katelyn Somers.

Photo © & courtesy of Luis Pons Photography

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