Edward Henkel's MovementTalks: "Ballet Looks to the Future and Function of Beauty in Dance" with Craig Salstein

Dance

Ballet

Upper East Side

Fri Jan 31

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L. Anone

On January 31 at the Buttenwieser Hall 92Y, the first Edward Henkel’s MovementTalks for 2014 took place. Having never been to any of the previous talks at the Harkness Dance Center, I had no idea what was ahead and I was looking forward to maybe a panel discussion of subject matter experts and possibly after the lecture an open forum for Qs & As - after all, they are talks. (Guess you can tell where my experience comes from – lots of conferences and business meetings.) The topic, Ballet Looks to the Future and Function of Beauty in Dance, was intriguing – albeit a little academic but I do love the ballet and worry about its longevity and ability to survive. As for the function of beauty in dance, well I’d just have to see how that connection is made. Right off the bat, Mr. Edward Henkel did not disappoint, he introduced three young choreographers – Craig Salstein, Director of the Intermezzo Dance Company; Gemma Bond who earned her choreographic chops with the American Ballet Theatre’s Innovative Initiative; and Claudia Schreier, choreographer of neoclassical and contemporary ballets. So the panel was in place and then oops - a couple of road bumps. After the introductions, attempts were made to connect the academic question of function of beauty in dance to each of the choreographers’ personal views of dance that were interspersed with film clips chosen as examples. Unfortunately that did not work too well - logical interconnections were not made. Maybe it was just too much topic to cover. Just as I was beginning to think the evening was loosing its connection and maybe even relevance – each choreographer treated us to examples of their work. Mr. Salstein’s piece was untitled as was Ms. Bond’s, Ms. Schreier’s was named - Harmonic. All were exceptional and each different, which addressed (at least for me) the question of ballet looking to the future. Yes it is and it is in good hands with Mr. Salstein, Ms. Bond, and Ms. Schreier. The program presented promising young choreographers and promising young dancers who are looking at ballet head-on into the future. It was filled with high energy and a fresh imaginative approach to emotions and movement through ballet. Not everything worked. For example, the questions regarding beauty and ballet, strength, and prettiness might be better addressed in a separate forum. At times, it seemed the topic might be a dissertation. However, to paraphrase Shakespeare – “the ballet’s the thing” - Now and in the future and I can breath a sigh of relief, at least for a few more years.