Daniil’s Intensio Comes to the Joyce

December 28, 2015

If you read our feature “A Day with Daniil” in the August issue, you already know that American Ballet Theatre star Daniil Simkin goes about 80 miles an hour all day long. His new project-based company Intensio is his way to connect with top choreographers in Europe. In works by Jorma Elo (from Finland), Alexander Ekman (from Sweden) and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (from Belgium and Colombia), Daniil and his small group have created a sophisticated program. It was warmly received at Jacob’s Pillow last summer and comes to the Joyce next week. (Both presenters provided co-commissioning funds.)

Daniil Simkin with Céline Cassone, photo by NYC Dance Project

Because he’s had such an interesting trajectory—born in Russia, trained by his mother in Germany, danced alongside his father at age 6—the solo piece Simkin and the Stage by Alexander Ekman has immediate appeal. One hears Simkin responding to Ekman’s questions while one sees archival footage of him spinning like a top. The piece captures the charm—and extreme technique—of the tender boyhood Daniil as well as the humor of Daniil the adult dancer and daredevil.

Intensio has commissioned four new works by the above mentioned European choreographers plus New Yorker Gregory Dolbashian. Simkin says learning new choreography is like learning a new language. “The more you speak it, the more fluent you become and the more enjoyable the piece becomes,” he said in August. 

For the dancers, Intensio is a chance to learn new languages. For the audience, the program (which I saw at Jacob’s Pillow) gives us a chance to see work by choreographers we don’t get enough of. It’s also pretty great to see glamorous ABT dancers close up: Isabella Boylston, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Calvin Royal, Hee Seo, Cassandra Trenary and James Whiteside. An outside spark in their midst is redhead Céline Cassone, guest artist from Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. All in all, it’s a terrific mix.

Jan. 5-10 at the Joyce. Click here for tickets.

July 2014 issue

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