CEDAR LAKE BALLET TAKES A FINAL BOW
June 5, 2015
Cedar Lake Ballet
Hoots and hollers preceded the standing ovation on the opening night of Cedar Lake’s last season in New York City. Dance companies come and go, but Cedar Lake was blind sided by the Walmart heiress, Nancy Laurie, who founded, and supported them until she didn't.
Fortunate to be financed by one person who also bought a spacious home for the company, they flourished. Top dancers joined the ranks that integrated modern dance moxy and flashy ballet technique. Popular with audiences, and tracked by dancers, everyone was shocked by the door slamming shut on the company of dancers and staff. It's understandable when companies fold because the founder dies and requests the company disbands-- as in the case of Cunningham.... but this was the benefactor’s decree.
The first piece “My Generation,” a world premiere by Richard Siegal features fringed Stanley Kubrick 2001 Space Odyssey meets Hair costumes by Bernhard Willhelm. Dancers charge on point shoes, adding weight and hip swishes over pounding toe work.
There's nothing dainty and airy about this ballet that converts toe shoes into percussive weapons gamely stabbing the floor heightening the preening torso. Body parts balance off-kilter (Siegal danced with William Forsythe), in a puzzle of combinations.
Spinning from one section to the next, the club-flaming Matthew Rich mouths the songs, tosses his hair around and fires up the audience along with the feline, Ebony Williams who proves a ferocious interpreter.
Despite the flash and swish, all the dancers are undeniably excellent dancers versed in modern, ballet and funk.
In Crystal Pites “Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue” stage lights are drawn into an arc around the performance area. Dramatic intent seeps into the dark, eerie atmosphere that embraces the heightened pedestrian steps. Mysterious undercurrents pervade the unfolding action. Unusual combinations propel bodies in opposite directions by pushing one’s head into another’s stomach.
The unmistakably raspy voice of Tom Waitts splits the silence. At the top, a young man stands with his battery powered laptop sized radio.
When the curtain opens, the dancers move against and in sync with the lyrics. Odd happenings include the smoking hot poodle on stage and the darkened sky, dripping in white snowflakes. Snow - It’s something that happens regularly, but never loses its magic—like the sight of outstanding dancers wringing their hearts out on stage.
Company members, take a bow: Jon Bond, Nickemil Concepcion, Joaqim de Santana, Vania Doutel Vaz, Joseph Kudra, Navarra Novy-Williams, Raymond Pinto, Guillaume Queau, Matthew Rich, Ida Saki, Ebony Williams, Jin Young Won.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis