Mixed Me­dia

NDI New Mex­ico’s Win­ter Dance Es­cape

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Madeleine Nick­lin

The Balan­chine con­nec­tion: NDI New Mex­ico The waltz seemed to spur Ge­orge Balan­chine’s imag­i­na­tion. The chore­og­ra­pher and co-founder of New York City Ballet had an early suc­cess with the genre: “A spe­cial at­trac­tion was Valse ,” wrote a re­viewer in a Pet­ro­grad arts jour­nal in 1922. “G.M. Balanchivadze [as he then was] proved to be a tal­ented com­poser, chore­og­ra­pher, and dancer. Such a com­bi­na­tion is a rare one.” Balan­chine re­turned to the form through­out his ca­reer, cre­at­ing works with a va­ri­ety of mood and dy­nam­ics. Take his three great waltz bal­lets: 1951’s fren­zied La Valse ; the deeply ro­man­tic Liebeslieder Walzer from 1960; and 1977’s grand-scale evo­ca­tion of a lost age, Vi­enna Waltze s.

Then there’s 1967’s pared-down Valse-Fan­taisie , a piece for six dancers, roughly 10 min­utes in length, and with a limited pal­ette of steps that is a won­der of in­ven­tion. This fast-paced buoy­ant stream of mo­tion, with mu­sic by Mikhail Glinka, forms the cor­ner­stone of NDI New Mex­ico’s Win­ter

Dance Es­cape pro­gram, a show­case for its pre­pro­fes­sional group, Com­pany XCel, and its ap­pren­tice dancers. The work was set on the stu­dents by for­mer City Ballet soloist Zip­pora Karz, one of about 48 repeti­teurs anointed by the Ge­orge Balan­chine Trust to stage the chore­og­ra­pher’s works through­out the world. The trust, founded in 1987, shortly af­ter the chore­og­ra­pher’s death, keeps a steely grip on who may per­form his bal­lets. Com­pa­nies must sub­mit a DVD of a re­cent per­for­mance dis­play­ing the dancers’ tech­nique, agility, and speed — the last, a hall­mark of so many of Balan­chine’s works. It’s a credit to the young dancers that they passed the rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process.

For­mer Santa Fean Jesse Camp­bell and Ha­ley Neisser, from the Suzanne Far­rell Ballet, join the cast as leads, fur­ther bol­ster­ing this pro­duc­tion’s con­nec­tion to Balan­chine. Far­rell, one of City Ballet’s most leg­endary dancers, had a deep per­sonal and artis­tic re­la­tion­ship with Balan­chine, and un­der­stands, as well as any­one, the me­chan­ics of his tech­nique and the spirit of his bal­lets — knowl­edge that she is able pass on to her com­pany mem­bers.

Fabrice Lemire, an artis­tic direc­tor with Cirque du Soleil, of­fers the pre­miere of a con­tem­po­rary dance piece. Orig­i­nal works by NDI fac­ulty mem­bers, in­clud­ing Tom Por­ras’ ath­letic, jazzy romp for five men set to “Mack the Knife,” round out the pro­gram. Per­for­mances take place at the Dance Barns (1140 Alto St.) at 7 p.m. on Fri­day, Feb. 27, and Satur­day, Feb. 28, and at 2 p.m. Sun­day, March 1. Tick­ets, $10 and $16, can be re­served by phon­ing 505-983-7661.

Fiona Jensen-Hitch, Olivia Caulfield, Kai Mor­gan, and Isela Flores in Valse-Fan­taisie ; photo Kate Rus­sell

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