BWW Reviews: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, 2014 Spring Season
I watch YouTube videos of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet before bed, so when I had the opportunity to see the company in the flesh at BAM, I jumped at the opportunity. Needless to say, I had high expectations from the versatile contemporary powerhouse that were mostly upheld.
First in the evening was Grace Engine, choreographed by Crystal Pite. Pite's movement played with ideas of conformity, chain reactions and rebellion. Facing one another, the dancers appeared to battle one another or, at times in a line, force each other to conform. The most stunning moment occurred when a dancer broke out of the line and the others attempted to return that dancer to the line. Pite's chain reactions of large movement stunningly filled the stage. The piece had a raw surrealist element that would emerge as a connecting motif throughout the evening.
There followed a long intermission with the curtain up as the stagehands placed projections on the screen. The projections, a moving mouth and hip, previewed the upcoming movement of Tuplet choreographed by Alexander Ekman. Tuplet certainly was an appropriate title, as Ekman's movement featured rhythm and syncopated movement. The piece was incredibly playful with the dancers at times modeling for a camera man, at other times dancing with shameless joy as if no one was watching. While the piece was entertaining, the dancers did not move as much as I would have enjoyed. At other moments I felt overly stimulated by the projections, syncopated music and the dancer's theatricality. I did enjoy that the piece continued the surrealist motif.
To conclude the night was Necessity, Again, choreographed by Jo Strømgren. The piece commenced with clotheslines of paper strung across the stage. Almost every emotion was packed into the piece: sexuality, sadness, joy, play, and rebellion. Strømgren's piece utilized the flawless lines of the dancers and moved throughout the whole stage holding my eye. The piece reminded me of a French impressionist painting featuring people enjoying a day off during the summer, where mischief runs rampant. It was an ideal end to the evening, leaving me wanting more.
After watching Cedar Lake's performance I was left with more questions about the future of ballet than answers as to where the art will go next. Will motif and concept triumph athleticism and technique? I enjoyed the connected conceptual nature of each piece, but I did also crave more moments showcasing the supreme skill of the company's dancers. Cedar Lake certainly upholds their reputation as a cutting end contemporary company that keeps redefining the genre with innovative movement and concepts.
Photo of Necessity, Again
Photo Credit: Dave Morgan