Powerful dancing of modern choreography is the focus when Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet makes its Bay Area debut on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall. The 16-dancer company, known for championing the works of living choreographers with European connections, will showcase dances by Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite, and Jo Strømgren in a program that includes two Bay Area premieres. “Cedar Lake’s popularity has everything to do with its roster of technically strong, stylistically malleable dancers, and its formidable repertoire of works by A-list choreographers” (Boston Globe).
Three dance works are on Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s Berkeley program. Indigo Rose was created by Czech-born choreographer Jiří Kylián in 1998, using music by Robert Ashley, François Couperin, John Cage, and J.S. Bach. Its three movements use muscular motion, tender duets, shadow play, and projected images to document and illuminate the transient nature of youth and human relationships. Making its Bay Area premiere, Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, a piece created in 2007 by Vancouver–based choreographer Crystal Pite, uses music by rock drummer Cliff Martinez from the 2002 motion picture Solaris. As its title implies, Pite’s work consists of 10 concise duets, separate yet interconnected, each with a unique emotional tone that is enhanced through creative lighting designed by Jim French. Another Bay Area premiere, Necessity Again, was commissioned by Cedar Lake from Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren in 2012. It uses music by popular French-Armenian singer/songwriter Charles Aznavour and a recorded interview with philosopher Jacques Derrida to explore those ineffable moments when emotion, represented by the music, trumps the rationality of words.
New York City–based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was established in 2003 by heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and quickly rose to worldwide acclaim. Noted for daring, athletic movement that integrates contemporary and popular dance forms into ballet, Cedar Lake’s repertoire is heavily influenced by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, the French-born, Alvin Ailey–trained dancer who guided the company toward works by contemporary European choreographers in his eight years as artistic director. Pouffer recently resigned; the company’s interim artistic director is Alexandra Damiani, a French dancer who has been the troupe’s ballet master since 2005. The 16 dancers in Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet are Jon Bond, Nickemil Concepcion, Jason Kittelberger, Navarra Novy-Williams, Matthew Rich, Joaquim de Santana, Acacia Schachte, Vânia Doutel Vaz, Ebony Williams, Rachelle Scott, Billy Bell, Ida Saki, Jin Young Won, Joseph Kudra, Guillaume Quéau, and Madeline Wong.
Tickets for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on Saturday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $30.00 to $68.00 and are subject to change. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at (510) 642-9988, at http://www.calperformances.org, and at the door. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php.