Richmond Ballet debuts fresh creative talent in New Works Festival
Richmond Ballet has done something truly inspiring. Stoner Winslett, the Artistic Director for Richmond Ballet, has personally chosen four guest choreographers to debut their work in Richmond Ballet’s Studio series.
The “New Works Festival” was fresh, innovative, and influential. Each choreographer was given 10 minutes for their creative works, and with only a 25 hour rehearsal time, the upcoming choreographers proved the New Works Festival to be a promising start for their unprecedented work.
Stoner gave an enthusiastic start to the show encouraging all audience members to ‘take chances,” and to “open their minds for self exploration.” Something Richmond Ballet along with the four choreographers took a leading step on.
The New Works Festival was truly a dynamic production. Each piece dramatically differed from the others, creating a stimulating experience for the audience. The works were classical, contemporary, and avant-garde.
“From My Life” by Nicole Haskins was a huge success. The audience seemed to really enjoy the classical movement and emotional choreography Nicole and Richmond ballet dancers were able to portray Tuesday night. I really enjoyed this piece because it wasn’t only classically beautiful, but Nicole also layered motions of chaos and tragedy. These movements were absolutely contagious I found myself swaying while still seated.
Richmond’s own dancer, Matthew Frain was among those chosen few for the New Works Festival. His piece ‘Inventory” followed Nicole’s and proves how dynamic this production was.
Frain’s piece was extremely interesting and sincerely provided his audience with an experience.
With his unconventional music and complex movements, I wasn’t sure where the piece was leading. But, then his layering of extensive movement partnered with his extreme composition conjured many emotions I could undoubtedly relate to.
I loved the animalistic movements and the sincerity behind his representation of one’s inner turmoil. Richmond Ballet dancer, Fernado Sabino captured the stage and was exquisite. Frain’s piece kept me on the edge of my seat and seemed to surprise and impress many that night, presenting a great start for Richmond’s dancer and choreographer.
Rex Wheeler’s “Lenten Rose” was very charming and delightful. His choreography really did “bloom” with playfulness and surprise. It was full of ah-ha! moments which made Wheeler’s ballet very entertaining and enjoyable.
Lighting design by Michael Jarett was truly unique compared to the other pieces, as well as the costuming by Emily DeAngelis.
Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s piece “Polaris” ended the production with an interstellar theme. What better way to show the variety of creative talent? The studio stage evolved light years from Wheeler’s soft and humorous ballet to Katarzyna’s dark and cosmic planet. “Kate’s” choreography was absolutely spectacular.
It consisted of weightless and mesmerizing movements that had the audience spell bound. Kate’s inspirational and powerful musical composition along with her choreography created a perspective that exuded the secludedness of space and time. Her idea of cosmic creation was successfully represented through stunning orbiting bodies and powerful lyrical motion.
The group of dancers were tremendously successful with their transformation into an inhuman plasmic force that stirred on stage. Kate’s piece exceeded all expectations and served as the perfect finale for the show.
With its dynamic pieces the New Works Festival proved to be greatly entertaining and a huge success. The four pristine choreographers and dancers from Richmond Ballet showcased fresh and forward-moving work. It left myself along with other audience members excited to see what else these very talented choreographers have in store for the studio stage.
Tickets for the shows are $20, They can be bought at the Richmond Ballet Box Office, etix.com, or by calling 1.800.514.3849
Located at the Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre, 407 E. Canal Street.
Thursday, March 19, 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm
Friday, March 20, 6:30 pm
Saturday, March 21, 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm
Sunday, March 22, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm
Nicole has been dancing since early childhood and can't get enough. You can find her salsa dancing at Havana 59 or tango dancing at the Vmfa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from VCU and strives to keep the arts alive! She loves all things lavender, pugs, and crisp weather.
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