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Robert Abrams
Performance Reviews
Restaurant Reviews
Cedar Lake
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet with dinner at Jake's Saloon

by Robert Abrams
October 24, 2005
Cedar Lake
547 West 26th Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues)
New York, NY 10001
(212) 486-722

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (An Evening of Three Choreographers) with dinner at Jake's Saloon

Cedar Lake Theatre
New York, NY

Robert Abrams
October 24, 2005

I started my evening at Jake's Saloon on 23rd street and 7th Avenue. I had a Jake's draft beer which had a golden hue. It was smooth with a honey like flavor as well as a tangy aftertaste. For the entrée I had the traditional Irish beef stew. A savory sauce covered an ample portion of beef with carrots, celery and potatoes served piping hot with just a hint of vinegar that brought out the flavor of the beef. If you like beef, this is a dish you should considcr. The beef stew was served with two rolls that were excellent for dipping in the sauce. On a previous occasion I had the Shepard's Pie, which was also quite flavorful.

Jake's Saloon

23rd Street and 7th Avenue
Conveniently located near Joyce Theater and Chelsea dance studios
Ask for Jimmy
57th Street and 10th Avenue
Conveniently located near Lincoln Center ballet companies, outdoor dance, and John Jay Auditorium
Ask for Jimmy

Cedar Lake's performance was anything but traditional. Daring, athletic, risk-taking choreography was combined with excellent technique. For instance, at the beginning of This Mortal Coil (choreographed by Edwaard Liang), Kristen Elizabeth Weiser was very poised. She held herself very still without vibration. In between the stillnesses, the choreography was characterized by much rapid arm pumping and rotational movement on one spot. Then she would move to another spot. There was a video transition showing Kristen and four men. The men then entered the stage as Kristen exited. Both the men and the women danced well. The men began a section rolling on the floor with undulating bodies. Four women then entered, pairing with the men for quick lifts. There was good contrast in the pacing between the sections with some energetic with a Swing like feel and others darker and slower. The number of dancers on stage was also varied. Sometimes couples would dance one couple at a time. At other times one couple would dance offset from the others who were slowly walking in the background. Or two couples sharing the stage, one in darkness and still, one in brightness and moving, and then the reverse, and then dance together. I liked the intricate hand movements and the lyrical partnering with occasional swift accent movements. Floor spins and sliding entrances were also a theme of the dance. I especially liked one image where a pair of dancers stood one in front of the other and created a circle, half with the man's arm and half with the woman's arm, parallel to the floor. All in all This Mortal Coil was a quality abstract dance that showed off dancers happy to be dancing.

The second work of the night, Momentary Play (Choreographed by Jodi Gates), started right after This Mortal Coil without a break. I and other members of the audience only realized it was the second work after it was over. Without a break it looked like another passage of the first work, especially since the costumes had similarities. Momentary Play featured a woman wandering the stage playing a violin. A man danced behind a curtain on which was projected an image of the same man. It looked like it was being captured and projected in real time. Eventually there were three of these curtains with dancers behind them. Other dancers would come on stage and dance outside the curtains. There was much reaching and running. Dancers pulled the curtains off. The choreography used very open body language with spread out limbs. Stretched. Pendulum arms. In this work as in the last, the choreographer was very fond of sliding entrances, which is partly why the two works seemed like one long work. The work ended with energetic interweavings. This was another quality abstract work that made good use of framing with the curtains and the video.

The final work of the night was Seed (Choreographed by Benoit-Swan Pouffer). This was a concept piece on the theme of birth. The work started with a video projected on large upright slabs that had been set on the stage forming a semi-circular boundary with openings between each slab. Images were projected of the dancers underwater wearing large headphones with thick cords trailing off the screen. Jason Kittelberger entered the stage. He was in an embryo pose making small movements. He was connected by a thread from his knit shirt to offstage. He mostly danced on one spot and then started slowly moving across the stage. His loose knit shirt was slowly coming undone. Five women crawl out backwards . Five men walk out from behind the panels. There is static noise. The women struggle to get off the ground. The dancers perform rapid staticy movements that parallel the music. It is like they are frantic to get out. There is much running and sliding and then all are lying down. The video shows the dancers scything a field. All of the dancers walk off. A couple comes on stage. They dance with impassioned pairing. The woman is in a pale green dress and the projections show the 23rd street subway station. Eight men take the stage. They look like weary cotton pickers. They make weary swaying motions. Then the dance picks up as they get a second wind with assisted flight with half lifts. There is much up and down striving. In the next scene a woman dances alone while a spider is projected on a line on the panels. Then children enter the scene with playful jumping and kicks. They draw on the wall of the schoolyard. This is a ballet take on child games. In the next scene a woman in a knit shirt runs up to the panels and stretches against them. We are perhaps back in the womb. A coda of a video recaps the scenes. Jason Killelberger appears. This time he wears nothing but flesh colored shorts and he is wet. He performs breaking free and balancing movements. Three dancers appear with cords stretching offstage. The music gets energetic. The dancers twist and turn. A man comes up out of the water in the video. Jason breathes.

I liked Seed because it managed to tie together different choreographic ideas into a whole that was a series of disconnected snapshots as it happened, but made sense as a seamless continuum in retrospect as the final dance sequence tied the work back to the beginning.

Cedar Lake performed in their new theatre and studio complex at 547 West 26th Street in New York City. The 191 seat theatre gets the audience up close to the dancers. This complex is a prime addition to New York City's embarrassment of dance riches. http://www.cedarlakedance.com

An Evening of Three Choreographers will be performed Oct 24-25 at 7 pm, Oct 27-29 at 8 pm, Nov 3-5 and 10-12 at 8 pm, with 2 pm Saturday matinees Oct 29, Nov 5 and 12. Tickets can be purchased through SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or www.SmartTix.com.

Jessica Coleman Scott
Photo courtesy of Steven Baillie

Choreographer Edwaard Liang
Asst. to the Choreographer Lynn Barre
Music Song to the Siren, by
Larry Beckett and Tim Buckley,
performed by Elizabeth Fraser of
The Cocteau Twins.
Above Water, by Tan Dun.
Various works by Antonio Vivaldi.
Projection Design Adam Larsen
Costume Concept Edwaard Liang
Costume Design Jeffrey Wirsing
Lighting Design Jim French
Set Design Timothy R. Mackabee
I. Song to the Siren Kristen Elizabeth Weiser
II. Above Water Video Sequence
III. Eja Mater Juan-Antonio Rodriguez,
Nickemil Concepcion, Jason Kittelberger,
Jessica Coleman Scott,
Heather Hamilton, Jolene Baldini
(Jubal Battisti, Jessica Keller 10/24,
10/25, 10/27, 10/29; Roderick George,
Shaun Boyle 11/3,11/4,11/10, 11/12)
IV. Sonata in A Minor Juan-Antonio Rodriguez,
Jason Kittelberger,
Jessica Coleman Scott,
Heather Hamilton,
(Jubal Battisti, Jessica Keller 10/24,
10/25, 10/27, 10/29; Roderick George,
Shaun Boyle 11/3,11/4,11/10, 11/12)
V. The Four Seasons:
La Primavera Nickemil Concepcion, Jolene Baldini
VI. Sonata in E minor Jason Kittelberger, Jessica Keller,
Jolene Baldini, Nickemil Concepcion,
(Jubal Battisti, Jessica Keller 10/24,
10/25, 10/27, 10/29; Roderick George,
Shaun Boyle 11/3,11/4,11/10, 11/12)
VII. Concerto in D RV 93 II:
Largo Jessica Coleman Scott,
Juan-Antonio Rodriguez,
(Jubal Battisti, Jessica Keller 10/24,
10/25, 10/27, 10/29; Roderick George,
Shaun Boyle 11/3,11/4,11/10, 11/12)
VIII. Concerto RV 210 Heather Hamilton,
Jason Kittelberger
IX. Stabat Mater Juan-Antonio Rodriguez,
Nickemil Concepcion, Jason Kittelberger,
Jessica Coleman Scott,
Heather Hamilton, Jolene Baldini,
Kristen Elizabeth Weiser,
(Jubal Battisti, Jessica Keller 10/24,
10/25, 10/27, 10/29; Roderick George,
Shaun Boyle 11/3,11/4,11/10, 11/12)
"Song To The Siren" written by Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett. Published by Tim
Buckley Music (ASCAP) and Third Story Music, Inc. (BMI)
"Above Water" by Tan Dun is used by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc.
Choreographer Jodie Gates
Music Bach Sonatas
Suite #3 C Major, BWV 1009
Suite #1 G Major, BWV 1007
Minuet 1 and 2
Projection Design Adam Larsen
Costume Design Nancy Haeyung Bae
Lighting Design Jim French
Set Design Jodie Gates/Timothy R. Mackabee
Violist Leanne Darling
Lev Zhurbin
(11/10,11/11, 11/12 at 8pm)
Karen Waltuch (11/5 at 2pm)
Sound Design/Composer Stefano Zazzera
Heather Hamilton . Ebony Williams
Jolene Baldini . Kristen Elizabeth Weiser
Jessica Keller . Shaun Boyle
Jubal Battisti . Nickemil Concepcion
Christopher Adams . Juan-Antonio Rodriguez
Jason Kittelberger . Matt Rich
Juan-Antonio Rodriguez . Jason Kittelberger
Roderick George Gideon Poirier
Gideon Poirier Jubal Battisti
It has been said that during the few seconds preceding our death we see
random flashes of our entire life. What about the moments preceding
our birth? Couldn't they also be replete with intuitive images of our life?
Choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer
Music Stefano Zazzera
Projection Designer Adam Larsen
Costume Design Nancy Haeyung Bae
Lighting Design Jim French
Set Design Timothy R. Mackabee
Solo Jason Kittelberger . Gideon Poirier
Death Nickemil Concepcion . Nickemil Concepcion
Heather Hamilton . Ebony Williams
Juan-Antonio Rodriguez . Christopher Adams
Jolene Baldini . Jolene Baldini
Roderick George . Roderick George
Shaun Boyle . Shaun Boyle
Kristen Elizabeth Weiser . Kristen Elizabeth Weiser
Jessica Keller . Jessica Keller
Gideon Poirier . Jason Kittelberger
Jubal Battisti . Jubal Battisti
Duet Christopher Adams . Juan-Antonio Rodriguez
Jessica Coleman . Scott Ebony Williams
Workers Nickemil Concepcion . Nickemil Concepcion
Jason Kittelberger . Jason Kittelberger
Jubal Battisti . Jubal Battisti
Juan-Antonio Rodriguez . Christopher Adams
Gideon Poirier . Gideon Poirier
Roderick George . Roderick George
Radoslaw Kokoszka . Radoslaw Kokoszka
Children Emaline Green, Radoslaw Kokoszka and company
Wet Sweater Jolene Baldini . Heather Hamilton
Life/End Jason Kittelberger . Gideon Poirier
Gideon Poirier . Jason Kittelberger
Jubal Battisti . Kristen Elizabeth Weiser
Jessica Keller . Ebony Williams
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