A few years back, a friend invited me to see The Nutcracker. I’m always amazed by the agility of dancers and I’m further mesmerized by the music. Ballet and sweet sounds in one? I’m all in. There’s the Nutcracker: sweet and soothing, and then there’s New Choreographic Voices: emotional and tantalizing. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve never heard of the group before. As the production began, though, I knew I was about to experience something astonishing.
The first act was truly a touching, traditional ballet piece. Directed by Christopher Wheeldon, “Rush”, was a romantic journey filled with trust and a healthy dependency. And yes, if you paid close attention to the fluid and synchronized movements, you could decipher the depth of the story. As I watched, I reminisced of a time in my life when I put my total trust in someone. The free-falling feeling of letting go. The completely exhilarating and euphoric feeling of risking everything in that moment. It was a piece that anyone could relate to.
For sure I thought “Rush” was it. Yep, definitely the most delicate piece I’ve ever witnessed. And it was. But then there was act two: “I AM”, an abstract and contemporary piece by Gina Patterson. “I AM” left me exposed and “in my feelings”. From the music, to the costumes to the set design, “I AM” exuded bleakness and visual engrossment . And I absolutely LOVED it.
“I AM” explored so many different themes. Where do I begin? There was definitely a journey of sorts happening; a journey between friends and community. We viewed scenes of intimacy and turmoil, a constant back and forth. “I AM” allowed us to peer into each individual during their struggle towards self-discovery. It was, my favorite word, vulnerable.
As someone who listens to an array of musical styles, I have never ventured out to hear the J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod version of Ave Maria. How beautiful!! It fused beautifully within the act.
On a happier note, act three was light and festive. Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16″ began with a theatrical performance. Dressed in suits, you really couldn’t tell one dancer from the other. All I wanted to do was scream “Oohpaaa!!!” after each repetitive act. The funniest part was when the dancers came down to the audience, eyed specific people, brought them back to the stage, and…danced. Like, quirky “who the hell cares” kind of dancing. I sunk further and further into my seat, hoping and praying that I wouldn’t be chosen. Thankfully, my friend, the better dancer, was chosen.
All in all I can say that New Choreographic Voices put on a good show. I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I reflected. I will never forget the emotions and the kinetic energy. That’s the beauty of art: you can either give it meaning or accept it as is.