October 22, 2010 – the day I immersed myself in Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. It started with the workshop in the morning, followed by the artist talk with Artistic Director Benoit-Swan Pouffer, and finally, the performance. The events leading up to the performance gave me a sense of what Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet company was all about. (Although I never did figure out the reason behind the name Cedar Lake.) In the artist talk, Pouffer was incredibly inspiring and well spoken. My favorite quotes were “Time is the most precious thing when you are creating something” and “I try to feed them the right food” (referring to how he chooses choreographers to set work on the company). Judging by the chosen choreographers for the evening, as well as Hofesh Shechter and Crystal Pite lined up for next year, it sounds like the dancers are staying well fed.
The show opened with Sunday, Again choreographed by Jo Stromgren. Dressed in tennis style outfits, and using a badminton net and birdie as props, the piece explored relationships during leisure time. There were many visible balletic influences, the most obvious being the use of classical music and over-dramatization.
Next up was Crystal Pite—one of my favorite choreographers. Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue lived up to its hype, and also left me wanting more. The free standing lights that moved forward and back, isolated the space and created a gorgeous effect of intimacy. The theme of rescue in many of the duets, reminded me of a symbiotic relationship of mutualism. Many times the dancers were rescuing each other and there was an element of survivor-ship. The dancers needed each other, and this idea occurred again and again. Pite’s characteristic imagery was evident in this piece, and there was an authenticity in the emotions, which derived from the movement itself. It was truly an engaging piece from beginning to end.
Finally, frame of view by Didy Veldman, tested the boundaries of humor, drama and dancing. I enjoyed many elements of this piece, and often found myself wishing they went further. There were doors, over-the-top outfits, confessions of fears, slow motion fights, dance parties, tables, chairs and confetti. There was a strong sense of narration and character, as well as complete and utter randomness—a seemingly perfect note to end on.
The standing ovation basically said it all… I know many of us left the theatre feeling fed with just the “right food."