New Chamber Ballet

(image taken from website)

Very short on time, but just want to say I had a lovely little time last night at City Center’s studio 4. Philip invited me to see the New Chamber Ballet, which is choreographer and composer Miro Magloire’s small company (comprised of, besides the choreographer himself, four dancers, all women). There were four pieces on the program, one a solo, the others danced by all, two to Baroque music (I think — Karlheinz Stockhausen and Giacinto Scelsi-??), one to no music at all (or rather, the sounds made by the dancers — tongue clicking at times, at times whispering and chattering amongst each other), and the final ballet, having its world premiere, was “Romantic Pieces,” to the sweeping, expressive Romantic music of Anton Dvorak.

The space is small and intimate (so you can see the pointe work up and close, always a bit of a thrill for me!), the production pretty minimalist — no sets or elaborate costumes, and the dancing very abstract / movement-for-movement’s-sake, very music-made-visual. And that music — violin and piano — was played live! — thank you thank you, Mr. Magloire — and splendidly by Erik Carlson on violin and Victoria Tzotzkova on piano.

What was interesting to me was the at the beginning of each piece, Magloire would come out and introduce the work to the audience, but instead of talking about the dance, he’d talk all about the composer. I don’t have a huge background on classical music and I found this really interesting. For example, he’d told us that Giacinto Scelsi (who lived in the latter half of the 20th century) had a nervous breakdown in his thirties, and forever after that made rather monochrome music, concentrating an entire piece on a single note (interestingly, he also after that breakdown wouldn’t allow his picture to be taken). Anyway, though the Romantics are more melodious and aesthetically pleasing to my ear (and of course we’re all more used to seeing ballet performed to them — Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Dvorak), I found the Scelsi to be so intense, so mesmerizing, so insistent in its sharp staccato, repetitive strikes of the violin strings. And that fascination with the music turned into a fascination with the dancing, the equally sharp, staccato, repetitive steps performed by the lovely Madeline Deavenport, Emery LeCrone, and Emily SoRelle Adams (who, throughout the night, danced with beautiful fluidity and fullness and had gorgeous form).

Anyway, the piece of Scelsi’s that Magloire used was “Xnoybis for violin solo,” which unfortunately, I can’t find a video of on YouTube, but here’s something somewhat similar (at least in the beginning) performed with a guitar. Or this one as well. Try to imagine dance to that! — and the dance actually worked quite well.

Explore more of his music, if you like. And, here’s a longish piece on the composer by Alex Ross.

I thank Mr. Magloire for introducing me to such delectable music! (and the dancing is definitely nice too 🙂 )

This program shows for only one more day — tonight, 8 pm.; go here for info.

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