HIGH ART: New Moves; NYC Ballet returns to Jackson with two world premieres

By on August 6, 2013
A scene from La Stravaganza. (Paul Konik)

A scene from La Stravaganza.
(Paul Konik)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – In the ballet La Stravaganza, Vivaldi is supplemented by electronic music, bringing together on one stage both modern culture and 17th century society. Contemporary choreography is based on a classical ballet foundation. There’s curiosity and then a range of other emotions before the two worlds come together.

It is one of several pieces New York City Ballet Moves will perform while in Jackson this week as part of a diverse contemporary program.

NYCBM will perform three times, on Friday and Saturday night and Saturday afternoon. The company will spend a week in Jackson teaching master classes, offering open rehearsals and several education and discussion opportunities.

The renowned company plays an important role in the history of American dance and continues to be one of the premier dance companies in the world, said Babs Case, artistic director for Dancers’ Workshop. Seeing NYCBM perform in the Center Theater provides an intimate and rare chance to enjoy some of the world’s best dancers.

“I feel that every time,” Case said. “Seeing this caliber of dance in this kind of space … it’s thrilling.”

There’s a risk in bringing back a company the community has seen, Case said. The first year, the company tickets sold out within days of going on sale. This year, there were still several hundred tickets left a week before the performances.

“A lot of people think if they’ve seen New York City Ballet once, they’ve seen it, and that’s not the case,” she said.

This year’s performances include dances rarely performed and work brand new to Jackson, including two world premieres, said Jean-Pierre Frohlich, ballet master for New York City Ballet and the artistic administrator for Moves.

“It’s a very diverse evening,” Frohlich said. “We wanted to bring something that’s never been done in Jackson Hole.”

The shift in style to a more contemporary program is an opportunity to showcase the diversity of the dancers and the company, he said.

The program features five pieces. All, except for La Stravaganza, are performed to live music. In addition to 13 dancers, Moves also brings seven musicians, Frohlich said.

This year there are two chances to learn more about dance and the history of New York City Ballet. In addition to open rehearsals and master classes, there will be a film on Jerome Robbins, one of New York City Ballet’s founding choreographers, with a lecture on his work. Case hopes it will provide context and insight into dance and New York City Ballet.

On Friday afternoon, Justin Peck, an emerging choreographer, will discuss his new piece Take-offs and Landings. The lecture demonstration explains how a choreographer works, how the company chooses pieces and how it all comes together before the audience sees it on stage. The program will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The piece will debut Friday night.

Both programs connect the history with the future of New York City Ballet, Case said.

Four years ago, New York City Ballet Moves visited Jackson as a kind of experiment to see what happens when one of the world’s best ballet companies takes a few dancers on the road to visit small communities like Jackson. Since then the idea has grown from simply exposing people to dance to creating a deeper understanding of the art form, Case said.

“Even if people have seen them once, I hope they come back,” she said. “Every time they come back they’ll see something new and be inspired in a new way.”

Tickets available at the Center Box Office, 733-6398 or www.jhcenterforthearts.org.

About Kelsey Dayton

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