Friday, June 14, 2024

Dance Review: The Strong and the Beautiful, Cedar Lake at The Joyce

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Photography by Francois Rousseau

Well, what’s there not to say about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet?  A diverse repertory company of exquisite technical beasts would be dream and playground for any guest choreographer; or, so it seems, based on the three works on the bill (Sunday Again, Unit in Reaction, and Hubbub) for one of their evenings at the Joyce Theater.

The evening opens with Jo Stromgen’s Sunday Again, a lighthearted, whimsical portrayal of a collection of lovers all dealing with the usual feuds and qualms of being in a relationship paralleled to back and forth quality experienced in a tennis match.  Literally.  Props used include Real Friends, Real Dancers, Real Pros...  Only on iDANZ!a tennis net, raquet, and plastic shuttlecocks that randomly appear from underneath clothing.  All this in place is a quaint and neat set-up for a perfectly boring piece.  However, Stromgen infuses stark humor via unexpected male/female moments of roughness, lesbian eroticism, and other social behaviors such as spitting and gossiping amongst themselves.  Overall, these nuances work well together in Strongen’s choreography to keep the audience in tune and alert to fleeting moments of wit.

The dancers shift into a much darker and somber mode in the next piece, Unit in Reaction, choreographed by Jacopo Godani.  In this adrenaline-driven suspenseful piece, the dancers seem to operate as if they are all apart of a machine, or better yet a group of lab rats under experimentation and our surveillance.  The dancers create luscious lines and move intricately between each other in breathtaking duet and solo work. Godani’s work digs beneath the surface and accentuates all that is juicy in this company and just uses technique as icing on the cake.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Photography by The evening closes with my favorite work, Alexander Ekman’s Hubbub.  Now although the concept of the piece has been done before (there is no such thing as a new idea) Ekman took it to a new level!  This is one of those pieces where no amount of words can do it justice.  You just have to see it for yourself.  But here are a few personal highlights:  the suspended typewriter, rhythmic breathing phrase, accumulation, and a perfectly cute duet performed by Nikemil Concepcion and Harumi Terayama in which we hear a recording of the dancers personal thoughts as they execute each step.  Hubbub is one of those pieces that is difficult to walk away not just liking, but also, finding yourself talking about for the next few days!

You’re probably wondering how I can critique Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and not highlight any dancers.  Simple.  They are all ridiculously good looking and beautiful artists.  So here we go: Jubal Battisti, Jon Bond, Nickemil Concepcion, Gwynenn Taylor Jones, Jason Kittelberger, Ana Maria Lucaciu, Navarra Novy-Williams, Oscar Ramos, Matthew Rich, Acacia Schachite, Harumi Terayama, Vania Doutel Vaz, Manuel Vignoulle, Ebony Williams, and Golan Yosef…  You Rock Fierce!

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Official Dance Review by Simone Sobers
Performance:  Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance Company
Choreography:  Jo Stromgen, Jacopo Godani, Alexander Ekman
Venue:  The Joyce Theater, New York City 
Show Date:  Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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One Response to “Dance Review: The Strong and the Beautiful, Cedar Lake at The Joyce”
  1. Candice Michelle Franklin says:

    LOVE Cedar Lake!

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