ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET (NextMove Dance): Flawless and vibrant

aspen-sante-fe-balletFounded in 1996 in Aspen, Colorado by Bebe Schweppe with Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has established its fame by keeping itself open-minded in a drastically changing art scene and environment. This can be seen in their repertoires full of cutting edge choreographies and in their unique management style, holding dual-city relationships with Aspen and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The three repertoires brought to the Prince Theater, May 3-7, by NextMove Dance—Eudaemonia by Cherie Barton, Silent Ghost by Alejandro Cerrudo and Huma Rojo by Cayetano Soto—are all uniquely diverse in the choreographic style, showcasing the character of the company and its multi-talented dancers.

Eudaemonia is about happiness. Happiness is simple to express. The way in which we seek it, however, is complicated.

In Eudamonia, the way of seeking happiness is narrated by the dancers. Barton’s Broadway-style choreography fuses steps of jazz dance and contemporary ballet, using a hat as a symbol of happiness. The dancers join in a setting like a group counseling session, they meditate and do yoga, they think hard to come up with the answer and they beat themselves in frustration. A baby’s laughing voice appears here and there while grown-ups try to find  happiness. Perhaps the answer is something simple as smiling. Or smiling may be just the startline. This is a beautiful cinematic piece.

Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost is abstract and enigmatic. Set to simple rock music of guitar and human voice, the dancer’s movement is smooth and fluent with no gaps or interval between steps. In one scene there are sounds of people chatting and dishes making noises (the sound of a restaurant?). But the dancers interact to an music that overwraps the sounds as if they are in a different dimension at the same moment, dancing as their memories or spirits make them. The choreography does not clearly indicate any stories nor intentions. Yet the stream of the non-conventional and unpredicted movements and steps  is intriguing and expressive, letting the audiences create their own stories to the dance.

The last of the program is Huma Rojo choreographed by Cayetano Soto. Dancers express the freedom to be glamorous and sensual through the movements of contemporary latin dance. Their comical and vibrant movements are fun and optimistic. It’s hard not to grin when they shake their buttocks showing proud faces. At the same time the choreography is highly demanding, requiring the dancers to constantly pay attentions to small details in positioning of each parts of bodies.  

The dancers are highly competitive and expressive, resulting in a high-spirited and inspiring performance.

[The Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street] May 3-7, 2017; danceaffiliates.orgaspen-sante-fe-ballet

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