Dancers from the American Repertory Ballet in Princeton perform on the Bart Luedeke Center theater stage.
By Sierra McCoy
The epitome of elegance graced the stage, as ballerinas performed for the Rider community in the Bart Luedeke Center on Sept. 21.
The American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and the Princeton Ballet School presented “American Made, Paul Taylor and Other Works,” which was broken down into three inspiring segments.
The ballet began with a four piece ensemble, entitled “Tears of the Moon,” where the dancers were accompanied by Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”
The resident choreographer and ballet master for ARB is Mary Barton. Barton has contributed to the dance world for over 30 years and has become an iconic figure not only to ARB, but worldwide.
Kirk Peterson, choreographer of “Tears of the Moon” is no stranger to the world of dance. He has choreographed over 50 ballets and has recreated famous ballets such as “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake” and “Giselle.”
While speaking about his piece for the evening, Peterson explained how every theme is based on a type of relationship. One portion of the dance was a duet between a man and a woman, while another dealt with the death of a loved one.
“Her lover has recently passed away, and it’s all about trying to make her see him, and, in the end, expressing, ‘I’m here, just look and you’ll see I’m here,’” Peterson said.
First to enter the stage were dancers Nanako Yamamoto and Jorge Urbina. Viewers watched as Yamamoto tried to run away from Urbina as he fought to show her his love.
The second part of “Tears of the Moon” included dancers Shaye Firer and Daniel Cooke.
The backdrop in this scene turned to a mixture of pink and purple as the roles switched. Firer appeared to be fighting for Cooke, who showed no interest at all until the end, when he seemed to have a change of heart.
They exited the stage and the lights turned to black until a solo performance by dancer Aldeir Monteiro took place. He shared this third portion of “Tears of The Moon” with Ryoko Tanaka.
The final set of this tetralogy featured dancer Erikka Reenstierna-Cates. The scene began with her covered by a white sheet as she stood in place on pointe. She was eventually uncovered, dressed in a white gown, and joined by dancer Journy Wilkes-Davis.
The two of them were in sync with every one of their moves, portraying the strength of their love.
“The first half was gorgeous,” said Sheldon Steele, a senior musical theater major. “It was very elegant and captivating, I am a proud supporter of the ARB School, primarily because Mary Barton is my ballet teacher, and also the ballet master of ARB.”
The ballet resumed with “Ephemeral Possessions” which was choreographed by artistic director and choreographer Douglas Martin.
Martin knew that he needed to start somewhere, being he was about to become director earlier this year and this is where he began choreographing this dance.
“I was inspired to do a piece and, sometimes, inspiration is everything,” said Martin.
Accompanied by American composer Samuel Barber, this intimate act in the ballet featured Yamamoto and Wilkes-Davis. Her body beautifully windmilled against his the entire time, as he gracefully danced with her.
The finale of this ballet was a more upbeat selection, as opposed to the others.
“Airs,” which was choreographed by the late American choreographer Paul Taylor in 1978, was the conclusion of an entire ballet inspired by him.
Taylor passed away on August 29. According to the ballet’s program, his passing only encouraged the dancers to honor his legacy in the best way that they knew how.
The dancers that paid homage to Taylor’s art included Reenstierna-Cates, Tanaka, Yamamoto, Wilkes-Davis, Monteiro and additional dancers, Emily Parker and Matanya Solomon.
ARB was gifted with “Airs” by a member of Taylor’s Dance Company, who was a former student of the ARB school and former member of the company.
“He was allowed by that choreographer to gift us the ballet, so it was a total miracle,” Martin said. “It was a very beautiful thing that he did for us as a give back.”
Composer, G.F. Handel, was the surrounding sound of music with the seven dancers in this closing performance.
“If you want to do it, the only thing you have to find out is how you get to [it],” Martin said of pursuing a career in dance. “You’re not going to be what you actually think you’re going to be, you’re going to be something different that you have to discover.”
“Work is unavoidable, and it’s just a component that is so essential to this art form,” Peterson added. “It requires an enormous amount of work and dedication.”
For more information on the American Repertory Ballet, visit arballet.org.
Published in 9/26/18 edition