Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ballet Dancers take to the Stage -- "Doing it Their Way"

The New York Times, and Pointe magazine have recently run articles on ballerinas in their thirties, forties or fifties who are crafting and shaping their own careers, taking on a variety of projects and working with artists outside their specific discipline. It’s exciting to watch these fascinating performers who are not retiring from dance to teach (although they are doing that too) but are delving into new and diverse ventures and recreating themselves as artists.

ID thought it was time to put the spotlight on three of these artists who are exploring the postmodern dance scene and dance-theater work in this next phase of their performing careers.

Wendy Whelan

Alessandra Ferri

and Diana Vishneva

Read on for this tiny tribute to the changing, ever sparkling, face of Dance.

Wendy Whelan says ballet feels like her child. “This is the one thing I’ve cared for, cultivated, and thought about for my whole life. It’s not something I can imagine throwing away. I can only imagine cultivating it more in a different way." That “different way” is an evening of duets created by four postmodern choreographers for Whelan this summer at Jacob’s Pillow.

Whelan calls the four pieces “Restless Creature” which premiered at the Pillow in August and will continue to cities across the county into 2014.

Aleksandra Ferri a "prima ballerina assoluta" had actually retired from the stage but was lured back by several new projects. Most notably Cheri by Martha Clarke.

“I felt like a fish out of water for most of it,” she said. “When I saw the way everybody else moved around me, I thought, ‘I will never do that.’ But I was open. Who knows?”

Ms. Ferri said in an interview at the Signature Theater, where “Cheri” is playing through Dec 29, "We often think of dance as being the ballerina,..You think, ‘Oh, I cannot do that anymore,’ or ‘I do not want to do that anymore, so stop.’ But no: There’s a huge world out there that is dance that we don’t look at when we are in our tutu world. I freed myself of that tradition and of that costume, and I am ready to look around.”

In “Cheri”  Ms Ferri combines her flawless balletic technique with an innate and equally riveting dramatic ability. One NYT reviewer glowingly commented that in Ms Ferri's perfomance "fleeting emotion is captured in precise, illuminating movement."

Diana Vishneva is pushing dance's boundaries while still performing classical repertory internationally.

“I am always aiming at a discovery in terms of my personal history, my personal career," she said. "For me, the process of my development is very important — what I experience, what I feel, what I achieve with each new endeavor, especially when I undertake something completely or especially new."

In her Performance, Vishneva on the Edge at the Segerstom Center for the Arts in LA

"Given my new experiences, I can now come back to breathe some new life into [classical] productions. But I will never allow myself some free interpretation of a classical role. I should be very cautious not to retreat from 'Giselle's' romantic style, its beauty and aesthetics. It is a challenge for me to preserve my old school and at the same time to enrich it with something new."

Here's to the New Year and everything New and Interesting!




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