Yesterday we told you about New York City Ballet corps dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, the duo behind the Saratoga Performing Arts Center's video campaign in advance of NYCB's summer residency. Each day this week, SPAC has released one of eight short films on its website and social media channels that were choreographed, co-directed and filmed by the two dancers. And they're giving us an exclusive look at the last one of the series.
Shot on location this spring in Saratoga Springs and Troy, New York, these films shows NYCB dancers frolicking in train stations, parks, race tracks and other iconic locations in the area. Fittingly, this last one was filmed onstage at SPAC, where the company opens its summer season July 5. Starring Walker and NYCB corps members Devin Alberda, Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara, Mimi Staker, Sebastian Villarini-Velez, Sarah Villwock and Giovanni Villalobos, it shows off the theater's gorgeous natural surroundings.
Here at Pointe, we love dancers who use their talent to tap into other creative projects. For New York City Ballet corps dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, their mutual love of choreography and film-making has yielded a major commission: creating eight short, site-specific films to promote NYCB's summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Shot on location in Saratoga Springs and nearby Troy, New York, the minute-long videos have been released one a day this week in advance of the season's opening on July 5. And we've got an exclusive sneak-peek at the last two films!
The dance world lost a legend this past week, when choreographer Trisha Brown passed away at age 80. A leader of postmodern dance, her work had dancers doing everything from walking on the walls of New York City's Whitney Museum to signaling to one another across Soho rooftops.
Ballet dancers don't often get to try their hand at Brown's liquid movement, but in 2013, the Paris Opéra Ballet performed her 1979 Glacial Decoy—the first work she made for a proscenium stage. It was restaged by Lisa Kraus, a former member of Brown's company; and Carolyn Lucas, the co-associate artistic director of Trisha Brown Dance Company.
The fascinating rehearsal process was captured in Marie-Hélène Rebois' documentary, In the Steps of Trisha Brown. The excerpt above shows a portion of their performance.
For ballet dancers, Brown's more pedestrian choreography can be a challenge, and it's a far cry from tutus and pointe shoes. But the POB dancers tackle the movement—danced in silence, with projected slides behind them—with confidence. Dressed in sheer, flowing white gowns, they let the weight and impulse of each movement propel them, like a current running through their bodies. Brown's choreography brings out a whole new side of them.
For a glimpse of what rehearsals were like, check out the clip below:
The new short film I Wish is a collaboration between Miami City Ballet corps dancers Adriana Pierce and Eric Trope, who both choreographed the movement, and Miami-based filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalvez. They filmed in various locations around Miami, including the MCB studios, and used music by local band My Deer. The result reads as both an intimate pas de deux and a love letter to the city itself. In an email, Pierce wrote that the project explores "the struggle to maintain a strong personal identity within relationships which may be less than perfect."
While there's nothing like the thrill and immediacy of live performance, sometimes a film can explore movement in ways that would be difficult to replicate onstage. Here, the camera captures subtle moments within the choreography, like two hands touching and slowly drifting apart, or the emotion that passes between the dancers when a look is exchanged. Powerful shots of the artists silhouetted against a wall of windows in the studio are interspersed with scenes of them in street clothes, with the ocean as their backdrop.
Watch the full video below: