A Second Look: Richmond Ballet’s Studio 3
Photos by Sarah Ferguson via Richmond Ballet
Please Welcome Rebecca Ferrell to Gay RVA’s contributor staff! She has an exhaustive history in dance, and after seeing The Richmond Ballet’s recent Studio 3 performance, she decided she HAD to write about it for us. So while we acknowledge we’ve already run a review of Studio 3, here is a second look at the performance.
Richmond Ballet’s “Studio Three: New Works Festival” is a collection of emerging choreographers presenting world premiers. Each of the four artists featured were given 50 rehearsal hours over a two-week period to create their work. Each piece was unique and brilliantly highlighted the talent of the Richmond Ballet dancers.
The show started with Amy Seiwert’s dynamic The Edge Of Place. Hildur Gundnadottir’s score was a perfect companion for Seiwert’s angular and at times, intense choreography. While all the dancers performed with the perfect blend of grace and power, Lauren Fagone and Thomas Ragland’s pas de deux was outstanding. Inventive lifts and precise partnering created a duet that shifted dominance from dancer to dancer. This, along was Fagone and Ragland’s dynamic connection with one another, was exciting and refreshing to watch.
The next piece, Dominant Curves, choreographed by Sasha Janes was accompanied by the gorgeous music of Osso and Sufjan Stevens. While I appreciated the striking shapes the dancers made as they intertwined, the predictability of the choreography was a bit disappointing. His use of rippled sequences, classical partnering, and romantic narratives felt dated. The performers, however, were exquisite. If Janes’ intention was to create a series of beautifully performed phrases then he was very successful. I feel the choreography, however, was lacking imagination.
The standout of the night was local choreographer Starrene Foster’s Vanish. The dancers seemed to be floating in and out of a lucid state as they glided seamlessly across the space. The choreography, laced with traces of melancholy, was soft and entrancing; each movement drawing me in further. Dancer Matthew Frain performed a haunting and beautifully performed solo as dancers disappeared and reentered through the wings mimicking memories of his past. Foster’s use of non-traditional partner work, male/male and female/female, was also inspiring to see.
Saideira, choreographed by Darrell Grand Moultrie, revolved around the notion of “last call”. While MK Stewart’s colorful lighting designed created the perfect nightclub environment, Moutrie’s choreography could not match the dynamic scene or feeling of inebriation he was trying to evoke. The music, created by Rodrigo y Gabriela, greatly overpowered the movement and I felt the piece as a whole was disconnected.
After the performance I had the pleasure to speak with some of the dancers about their experiences. It was moving to hear how open and excited they were to be a part of this process. Their enthusiasm was infectious.
As someone relocating back to Richmond, I was very impressed with the technical skill, flawless performances and true professionalism of the Richmond Ballet. This performance was the strongest I have seen from the company yet. I look forward to the rest of their season.
Find out more and get tickets at the Richmond Ballet’s Website.
Rebecca A. Ferrell, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is a dance educator, choreographer and performer. She is currently the artistic director of FDANCE, a project dedicated to her work as an intervention dance artist. Rebecca holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. She is currently adjunct faculty at VCU Dance and is in charge of dance curriculum at John Tyler Community College. When she is not dancing, Rebecca is making cupcakes, breaking hearts, and obsessing over the color pink.
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