Performing Arts: Dance
August 11, 2015
Claudia Schreier & Company performed an evening of work at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre. The company’s debut was in part due to “The Breaking Glass Project,” a platform that mentors and supports young female choreographers. Schreier was the 2014 winner. Through this opportunity she was afforded space, a year for creation, new music, and the luxury of some very talented dancers from New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and American Ballet Theatre among others.

“Almost Morning,” the opening piece and first of three World Premiers, was cluttered. Live musicians joined the dancers on stage, with music from Jeff Beal, of the Netflix series “House of Cards,” fame. From the first entrance it’s apparent the spacing is muddled and the movement too grand for the stage. At one point a male dancer picks up a female and she flings her leg back, almost into the head of a string player. The tight circumstance causes the dancers movement to become restrained and at times apologetic, perhaps in another venue it might take off.

Two of Schreier’s previous works followed. “Harmonic,” (2013) gave a stronger sense of choreographic voice. The cast of four lead by the luminous Stephanie Williams of ABT, had merit as a group and as individuals. Phrases were precise, with evolving dynamic and focus. Schreier isn’t necessarily bringing anything new to the table but she is getting closer to establishing her style. In one moment the dancers stand in a line and swing their arms in a pendulum figure 8 type movement while rotating directions. It’s a rather old idea best seen on 50 dancers in a larger setting, but it sticks in my mind because she found moments for energy shifts, which is quite refreshing among a string of fast paced movements.

A choir of 16 joined dancers Elinor Hitt and Da’Von Doane on stage for “Vigil,” another premier. Although many beautiful lifts and spins created lasting images, the two entities never sank into harmony. An interesting idea, that didn’t quite achieve full fruition.

“Pulse,” the final premier and finale, included all 13 dancers. It served as a culmination of many choreographic ideas that were seen in the other works but it gave Schreier a chance to show spatially the dynamic groupings she can create with a larger cast. There is no doubt that she has the talent to take her to the next step and the intricate movement to entertain audiences to come. The challenge for Schreier will be what sets her apart from the rest? I’ll be eager to attend the next performance and find out.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon

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