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June 23, 2016
Review: New Chamber Ballet Closes its Twelfth Season
Amber Neff and Sarah Atkins in "Djazz". Photo credit: New Chamber Ballet.
Amber Neff and Sarah Atkins in "Djazz". Photo credit: New Chamber Ballet.

New Chamber Ballet closed its twelfth season this past weekend in the uniquely humble style that’s come to represent the company over the last decade plus. The evening presented four works by Artistic Director and founder Miro Magloire, as well as one by resident choreographer Constantine Baecher.

As always, the performance at City Center Studio 5 carried an air of undone intimacy. Folding chairs comprise audience seating, the performance space is marked by masking tape on the marley floor, and Mr. Magloire serves as the audience’s personal guide to the evening.

New Chamber Ballet’s longtime accompanists—Melody Fader on piano and Doori Na on violin—play music younger than they are just as effortlessly as they do works by well known composers like Brahms and Ravel.

Each piece comes with a preface by Mr. Magloire: a little background on the musical selection, the composer, or the inspiration behind the piece. It’s one of the things I’ve always loved best about evenings with New Chamber Ballet.

The season’s final performance opened with a premiere by Mr. Baecher, titled Lost and Found. Set to recorded interviews with the two performing dancers, and featuring Ms. Fader improvising on Brahms’ Verzagen, Baecher’s abstract choreography shines. The piece was inspired by artist Mark Lombardi’s intricate drawings, which are often illustrative of the lines of connection between people, things, and events. Baecher takes this to heart, playing with lines and angles as dancers Amber Neff and Traci Finch dance in circles around and with one another in a mesmerizing study of attachment.

The evening’s second piece, Quartet, was choreographed by Mr. Magloire, and set to music by Arnold Schoenberg performed by Ms. Fader. Though the piece is named for the four dancers whose presence is heavily felt, the ballet is really a solo for dancer Shoshana Rosenfield. Dressed in black, as though in mourning, the four corps members comprise the walls that begin closing in as Ms. Rosenfield’s movements become increasingly panicked and tight.

Voicelessness, introduced by Magloire as a “somber and dark” piece, holds true to its preface. Set to music of the same name—performed by Melody Fader on the piano—Voicelessness is heavy, but smoothly choreographed. Dancers Amber Neff and Shoshana Rosenfield are joined near constantly, performing demanding partner work that borders on acrobatic, and doing it seamlessly.

Shoshana Rosenfield   and Tracy Finch in "Quartet". Photo credit: New Chamber Ballet
Shoshana Rosenfield and Traci Finch in "Quartet". Photo credit: New Chamber Ballet

A second premiere closed the show, set to Ravel’s Violin Sonata No. 2, which Mr. Magloire described as having one of the most “exhilarating” endings of a sonata ever. Doori Na’s performance did not disappoint, and neither did the dancing. A trio of dancers, dressed in fringe, unleashed athletic choreography that lined up perfectly with both Ravel’s score, and Magloire’s excitement about it.

The jewel of the evening came with the reprisal of Mr. Magloire’s ballet Silk. Mr. Na’s spectacular solo performance of Giuseppe Tartini’s Sonata No. VII provided the backdrop for Magloire’s cascading choreography. Steeped in classical ballet technique, and a perfect illustration of the violin sonata, the oldest ballet in the repertoire embodies everything Magloire set out to do when he founded New Chamber Ballet a dozen years ago.

It’s rare that a work allows dance and music to stand alone together, without being ascribed dense meaning. Magloire’s love of the music itself radiates from his choreography, and from his dancers during every piece, but none more so than Silk.

New Chamber Ballet is a unique entity in the dance world, continually blending the old with the new in various respects, and June 18th’s performance was no different.

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