Blog: Juxtapositions

The dancing felt like a natural mimicry of human breath and vulnerability, characteristics that were amplified by the accompanying music.

Today I was privy to a BalletX rehearsal for the 2016 Vail Dance Festival in Colorado. BalletX is the 2016 Company-in-Residence for the renowned festival, and choreographer Matthew Neenan is in the process of creating a ballet to be premiered later this summer in Vail’s NOW: Premieres program. The new work will also feature live music from The Catalyst Quartet.

When I walked in, pointe shoes were set aside, the satin piles bordering the floor’s edge. Today’s rehearsal was for the 10 dancers in the corps de ballet of the new work, which currently remains untitled. The dancers held geometric and gnarled poses in an individualized tableau, setting the stage for a soloist who would be added later. As the dancers moved out of the tableau, their motions transformed into decisive, smooth movements. Juxtaposed with this smoothness were small-scale movements that appeared as stutters. The dancing felt like a natural mimicry of human breath and vulnerability, characteristics that were amplified by the accompanying music. Both music and dance were perpetually unsettled, and even the climactic resolution still felt frustrated.

The evolving work showcased notorious traits of Neenan’s other recent ballets, with openhearted and unabashedly human expression. Vail audiences will be witness to an inspired work.

– Elise Lawrence, Intern