THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

SOLUNA FESTIVAL 2015

Avant Chamber Ballet performs for the Soluna Festival

Soluna Review: Avant Chamber Ballet

Avant Chamber Ballet makes a rousing tribute to American ballet at the Soluna Festival with guests from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.



published Saturday, May 9, 2015

Photo: Amitava Sarkar
Avant Chamber Ballet performs for the Soluna Festival

Dallas — There’s nothing like hearing live music at a classical ballet performance. It adds some spontaneity to an otherwise technically fixed art form as well as a layer of anticipation for both performers and audience members. It was this anticipation that had audiences on the edge of their seats as Avant Chamber Ballet (ACB) broadened their artistic range in a near flawless performance Tuesday evening at Dallas City Performance Hall in conjunction with the Soluna: International Music & Arts Festival. Staying within the margins of the festival’s theme “Destination America” Puder put together an exciting program that included some of her favorite American ballet choreographers, including George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Paul Mejia, and also showcased the company’s ever growing versatility and musical awareness.

Photo: Rachel Meador
Avant Chamber Ballet

Having been brought up on the Balanchine style it came as no surprise that ACB’s restaging of Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie paralleled the technical fortitude of the original. Glinka’s driving composition, arranged by ACB’s composer in residence Chase Dobson, guided the five females and one male through this whirlwind that can only be called pure dancing. As was Balanchine’s custom, leg beats and rises on and off pointe were accentuated with subtle head tilts and arm changes. Natalie Anton, Madelaine Boyce, Kristen Conrad and Kaitlyn McDermitt performed the springy corp steps without hesitation and beautifully captured the musical nuances with their elongated arabesques and breathy arm transitions. Christy Martin was a spitfire in the lead role with fellow dancer Peter Kurta. Martin showcased exquisite control as she stepped into a lengthy arabesque hold after completing a vigorous entrechat variation.

Kurta ate up the stage in his traveling jump sequences and maneuvered Martin through a series of assisted pirouettes and rotating body positions without qualm. Musicians Miika Gregg (violin), Lydia Umlauf (viola), Jennifer Humphreys (cello), Kara Kirkendoll Welch (flute), David Cooper (horn) and Saule Garcia (piano) partnered beautifully with the performers on stage with changing tempos, volumes and styles generating the same energies in the dancers.

Paul Mejia’s Serenade in A challenged ACB’s Natalie Anton, Emily Dixon, Yulia Ilina and Rachel Meador with its musical intricacies and scrupulous technique. Choreographed in four parts, each section uses a different part of the body to highlight the nuances in this illustrious Stravinsky composition. The long-sleeved white leotards and matching ballet belts enhanced the dancers’ lines and did not detract from the detailed movements seen in the work. Right away the eye is drawn to the dancers’ upper bodies as they contract and release on different counts.

These constantly changing counts made the simple plies with wrist flicks and back arches appear fresh and exiting. In the third section the fast tempo was accented by the dancers’ hips as they quickly tip-toed on the balls of their feet around one another. Pianist Garcia slowed the tempo down in the final section as the dancers focused on raising and lowering their arms to different counts and rhythms.

Just as the title states, Puder’s new work Endless Arc was a continuous array of wide arcing movements, contracted torsos and explosive leg extensions. By breaking the piece into five parts the audience could fully appreciate Puder’s interweaving formation changes, complex petite allegro sections and push and pulling partnering skills. In the first section, Sarah Grace Austin set the tone when she performed a series of slow side bends and tendue steps with an inverted hip swivel. As Bela Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4 picked up tempo Austin and the other five dancers on stage exploded into a number of running jetes which led them off stage.

In the second and fourth sections, Madelaine Boyce, Kirsten Conrad and Christy Martin made easy work of the traveling chaine turns and double pirouettes that came in between their running patterns, which had them circling close to one another before shifting directions. The simple rotating bourrees and slow walks which spread the group across the stage in the third adagio section was one of the most visually arresting moments of the whole piece. The audience was also pleased to see Tagir Galimov handling the classic partnering skills (i.e. rotating arabesques, pirouettes) with more assertiveness and continuity.

The piece came to a satisfying conclusion as the entire company executed a series of high powered traveling jumps and alternating battements before ending in diagonal spanning the stage. As they pivoted to the front with one arm curved up and the other down the stage went dark. Throughout the piece Charlton Gavitt’s bold color choices and abrupt lighting cues meshed with the sharp changes in the music and helped round out the work.

These more traditional works were separated by two contemporary duets choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. In The American pas de deux Michele Gifford clung to Shea Johnson as he manipulated different parts of her body. Flexed feet, broken arms and a contracted torso made up most of Gifford’s movements as Johnson swept her across the floor in a number of over the head lifts. The counterbalance holds and sustained lifts, which made up a bulk of the work, tested Johnson’s control and consistency with positive results. Whereas The American was light and buoyant, Wheeldon’s There Where She Loved was grounded and tense with Gifford desperately reaching and arching away from Johnson as he dragged her across the floor on the tops on her feet. Soprano Corrie Donovan’s soul stripping rendition of Kurt Weill’s Je ne t’aime pas as well as her physical presence on the stage gave the couple courage to fully let themselves go which in turn made their performance more dynamic and believable.

» Katie Dravenstott is a freelance writer and dance instructor in Dallas. Visit her blog at www.kddance.wordpress.com

 

» We have a complete schedule in our Soluna Festival special section on TheaterJones. Look for features and previews during the Soluna Festival in our special section. For more information, such as ticket prices, visit mydso.com/solunafestival Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Soluna Review: Avant Chamber Ballet
Avant Chamber Ballet makes a rousing tribute to American ballet at the Soluna Festival with guests from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
by Katie Dravenstott

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie All Bruce Stage West Uptown Players Dallas Black Dance Theatre Nina Simone Dolls House Liz and Judy 1968 Staircase Cliburn social The 39 Steps On The Verge KD Studios UNT College of Music The Champion 1968 Flying Dutchman UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Melinda Massie
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit