Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Cedar Lake Theater
June 2–5, 2008
CLICK HERE to see a video of Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Impression.
Cedar Lake’s spring season showed increasingly savvy curating (Benoit-Swan Pouffer is artistic director), offering three works refreshingly different in nature. The company comprises some of the most accomplished, athletic ballet dancers working today. They pounced on Jo Strømgren’s Sunday, Again, a fast-paced, lighthearted dance with a whimsical badminton theme (the set and artful lighting was also designed by Strømgren), to Bach. In tennis whites on a glossy black floor, the dancers passed leisure time by playing and parrying through tricky one-armed lifts, or partnering while seated in a chair (Jason Kittelberger and Acacia Schachte, remarkable together); or concealing shuttlecocks in their mouths and pants (a luminous Harumi Terayama and deadpan Ana-Maria Lucaciu, respectively). Nickemil Concepcion and Jessica Lee Keller displayed more of the company’s athletic prowess in a juicy duet showing Strømgren’s lyrical yet powerful movement. Entrances/exits were made by blending in with a line of dancers crossing the stage. Most importantly for this troupe, which has performed a number of soul-wrenching works, Sunday, Again was plain old fun to watch.
Terayama and Kristen Weiser performed Angelin Preljocaj’s Annonciation, choreographed in 1995. Terayama imbued Mary with a convincing child-like innocence, in contrast to Weiser’s muscular, commanding Angel. Preljocaj excels at uncorking the theatrical potential of dance, and here his “L” shaped bench and red color scheme provided a striking foundation for the pair’s intriguing relationship. Passages were punctuated with forceful interactions instigated by the Angel: her thumb plunging into Mary’s mouth, her palm sliding down Mary’s torso, or a fleeting kiss.
Completing the bill was Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint, which premiered two years ago at Cedar Lake. The inclusion of this work served as a caution flag for what the company should be careful to avoid, or at least serve up in small amounts, yet what seems to be an aesthetic of choice: exaggerated movements and filigreed finishes, overly forceful delivery, an underlying, opaque message about a dire life-and-death topic. This year, however, followed by nicely varying works rather than two works of similar dynamic, Fonte’s dance fared better.