What's Ballet Without the Spectacle?

August 4, 2013

We may find an array of answers to this question when Ballet v6.0 starts tomorrow at the Joyce. This mini-festival brings together six small ballet companies, mostly from outside New York. They are tiny compared to the companies that do Swan Lake and Bayadère, but they show a curiosity for presenting ballet in a more intimate setting. And after all, Eliot Feld and Cora Cahan started the Joyce as a place to view ballet from up close.

The companies include BalletX from Philly, Whim W’Him from Seattle, Dominic Walsh from Houston, and Company C Contemporary Ballet from the Bay Area. The last two groups are based in New York: Troy Schumacher’s BalletCollective and Jessica Lang Dance.


Allison Walsh and Billy Cannon of BalletX. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Ballet v6.0.

Matthew Neenan of BalletX, Dominic Walsh, and Jessica Lang (click here to see my “Choreography in Focus” with Jessica Lang) already have reputations as choreographers. But Walsh’s company has also done works by Bourne and Kylián.

Olivier Wevers, founder of Whim W’him, choreographs but also invites others to make pieces for his group. For this foray, he is producing a classic Bournonville pas de deux, but with two men. (Don’t try to take this piece to Russia, where anything hinting of homosexuality can now get you arrested!)

Charles Anderson’s ambitious Company C, a 2010 “25 to Watch,” is bringing works by Patrick Corbin and Brian Reeder (see our “Choreography in Focus” with Brian Reeder here).


Edilsa Armendariz and Chantelle Piannetta of Company C Contemporary Ballet in Alexandre Proia’s
RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy Ballet v6.0.

Schumacher, a little cannonball of a dancer from New York City Ballet, uses comrades from that company for BalletCollective. He is working on a  collaborations with a photographer and a dramaturge.

No doubt Ballet v6.0 will provide a refreshing look at a classical art. Although the productions will not be spectacular in size, we may see some interesting attempts at reinventing ballet for our times.


Taylor Stanley and Lauren King of BalletCollective. Photo by Lora Robertson, Courtesy Ballet v6.0.