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Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Last updated: 3:13am

UA hosts Cedar Lake Ballet

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, which incorporates classical dance practice with innovative choreography, will make its Tucson debut at Centennial Hall on Thursday evening.

“In every Cedar Lake performance, we strive to showcase the diversity of our company at its very best,” interim artistic director Alexandra Damiani said. “These three dances do just that. They are each by choreographers with very distinctive styles.”

First on the program is a piece by choreographer Hofesh Shechter, titled “Violet Kid”. Shechter, an Israeli native, concentrates on harmony in a broken world in this piece. All of the dancers are on stage and engaged for a full 33 minutes, showcasing their endurance. The choreographer created not only the dance, but the original score as well.

The next piece is “Tuplet” by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman. The dancers use their bodies as percussion instruments in this playful piece that allows the dancers’ personalities to shine through.

By Sharen Bradford / Photo by Sharen Bradford, courtesy of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Performers in the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Company dance a piece called "Violet Kid," one of three performances that will be presented in Centennial Hall on Thursday evening.

“Tuplet” is driven by rhythm, chanting and whispering, alongside the dancer’s movements.

“Grace Engine” by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite will conclude the performance. This particular dance sets a somber scene, and examines the loneliness of human existence. The dancers incorporate a lot of groundwork and quiet movement.

Jon Bond’s contribution as a soloist in “Grace Engine” was named one of the 10 best performances of 2013 by Pointe Magazine.
Though the three performances all incorporate elements that are traditional for the Cedar Lake company, there is no underlying theme that connects the three performances on Thursday.

“Cedar Lake is very much a chameleon-like company,” Damiani said. “All of our dancers have very strong classical training, skill and technique, but it is the use of the dancers’ individual personalities into each creation that creates our distinctive style.”

According to a review from The New York Times, the organization is “possibly the country’s most innovative ballet troupe.”

“A large part of the excitement of our company is our diversity,” Damiani said. “Diversity in dancers, the diverse styles of movement we acquire as we work with different choreographers and the commitment we have to allowing the individual personality of the dancer [to] shine through no matter what the dance.”

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