“Tulsa Ballet II Emerging Choreographers Showcase” provides a space for new choreographers.
At its heart, dance tells a story. This is what the “Tulsa Ballet II Emerging Choreographers Showcase” was about. The showcase featured three up-and-coming choreographers whose drastically different pieces each told a story. The showcase was performed in Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K, and the smaller atmosphere created a more intimate connection between the audience and dancers.
The first piece, “Generation Y,” was choreographed by Daniel van De Laar with contributions by the dancers. It was all about the generation that grew up in the digital age surrounded by technology. In a society inundated with technology and social media, people’s lives are always on display, as each person struggles to find their individuality. “Generation Y” was not a ballet, but a contemporary dance. The dancers wore black pants or shorts and nude shirts. The music was techno-pop with harsh, discordant sounds to match the feeling of isolation amid technology.
In a particularly gripping part of the piece, a male dancer danced a solo while all the other dancers slowly advanced toward him, enclosing him in a circle. It was like he was an actor on a stage supposed to perform while others looked on. It left the viewer with a powerful, moving image reinforcing the message of the unintended consequences of technology.
The performance practiced an effective use of lighting as well. The lights were dim, the backdrop was a black curtain. The audience focused solely on the dancers. The lighting spotlighted dancers, went black and featured different dancers. This complex variety really helped tie the piece together.
The second number was “Sur Le Fil,” which translates to “By A Hair’s Breadth” in French, was choreographed by Penny Saunders. Saunders claimed the choreography of this piece did not have a specific storyline, but rather was about life and the beauty and mystery of it. It was whimsical and fun. It had a French tone, very cultured. The first song even had French lyrics.
The black fedoras the dancers wore were central props to the piece, seeming to function as embodiments to the elusiveness of life. To complete their costumes the dancers wore blue leotards with darkened blue suspenders and, halfway through, the female dancers shed their suspenders.
The last piece, “As Told by Kristin,” was choreographed by Joshua A. Stayton. This number was set at a coffee shop and explored the hopes and dreams of the baristas and customers. It was an adorable performance about the magic of people in a coffee shop. It followed three couples and their unspoken emotions through songs sung by Kristin Chenoweth.
“As Told by Kristin” was delightful and a really fun piece to end the night. It was full of young love, hope and dreams. It had the most traditional dancing of the three pieces, with the girls in pointe shoes and flower dresses. Each couple had a different color theme, which was a fun touch.
The set drew the viewers in because it was a few tables, a counter, and of course coffee cups, which was a fun setting for the couples’ stories to play out on. The number ended the night on a happy note.
This Showcase featured only Tulsa Ballet company II, but there is still one more chance to see them and Tulsa Ballet I in the 2017–2018 season. Their “Signature Series” comes to the Tulsa PAC May 3 – 6.