The company’s interim artistic director, Alexandra Damiani, explained post-show yesterday why the New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has such an interesting name. It’s a long story and they don’t rehearse next to a lake. But now ten years old, the company has gained an impressive reputation and sense of style. “Let’s go to the lake,” say audience members in reference to their performances.
Their latest triple bill, at Sadler’s Wells this evening and then touring across the UK, shows a diversity of both choreographic styles and of new and existing works. Opening the programme is Jiří Kylián’s Indigo Rose. Originally created in 1998 for Nederlands Dans Theater, it has four sections – two of which are vibrant and pulsating, with the others lingering and more intimate. It is in the former that the choreography really shines and dancers show off their remarkable technique – playing with the music and seeming only to stop momentarily when suspended mid-air during jumps. Ending with the performers ceasing to move and extended black and white video of close-ups, the final moments are anticlimactic, but the unrelenting energy of earlier in the work lingers in the mind as the curtain closes.
Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue conveys some interesting ideas and character relationships but failed to maintain our engagement throughout. Most captivating was the image of a Zen-like woman slowly walking forward while a man running behind struggled frantically to catch up.
The final work by Norwegian choreographer Jo Strømgren was undoubtedly the highlight and finishes the evening on a high note. Necessity, Again begins with washing lines, with numerous pieces of paper pegged to them, being pulled across the stage. Papers were then thrown around the performing area, on top of which the cast suddenly leapt into action, dancing jubilantly to an upbeat 1960s French song.
With further dance sections to more exuberant tunes interspersed with serious voiceovers discussing necessity, the piece conveyed exactly that joyous Friday feeling that you get after a tough week in the office. “Necessity is the drive,” says the voiceover as the dancers shake their hips and fly through the air. Indeed, the necessity to buy tickets to performances such as this is why we go to work and it’s definitely worth a ‘trip to the lake’ if you’ve got some time off this weekend.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is at Sadler’s Wells 28 September only, 7.30pm. Tickets priced £12-£27. Londonist received a complimentary ticket to review this performance.
Pictured: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in Indigo Rose / Photo by Jane Hobson