Today I attended an open rehearsal of Company C's Program B, which opened with a piece by Twyla Tharp, "Armenia"; then came excerpts from Charles Anderson's latest work, and finally Nikolai Kabaniaev's latest work, "Dioscures."
Before today I had never experienced this regional gem of a ballet company, but the troupe's energy, talent and athleticism all brand them as a force to be reckoned with in the Bay Area. The flexibility in styles, the dedication of their artists, and the individual personalities of those dancing all came through in just under an hour, making me hunger for more.
Nobody can beat Twyla Tharp for entertaining choreography that keeps the dancers moving without pause, and the excerpt from "Armenia" did just that. The playfulness of the movement was captured perfectly by the two young dancers performing the work, and it was executed effortlessly despite the difficulty and stamina required.
Charles Anderson's work, "Akimbo" was a great study in angularity and sensuality that serves as a wonderful vehicle for the talent in his troupe. Combining unique horizontal lift positions that defy gravity, and a complex interplay of steps and pairings, it's a visual matrix set to intriguing music.
The piece de resistance, however, was Kabaniaev's creation, "Dioscures," set to the music of French composer Yves Pnin, which depicts the abstract concept of a sudden birth. A slow, languid beginning leads the dancers through fits and starts -- high battements, swivelling lifts and considerable sliding into positions. Kabaniaev uses various couplings, allowing each dancer a chance to display his or her talents. The closing section, featuring three men and the initial soloist female, offers an airborne manipulation of her limbs, before the dancers enter again to repeat the beginning as the work closes.
This brief glimpse at Company C's Program B is more than just three short ballets, however. It's a young group of talented dancers that hail from all over the United States, each of them with different backgrounds, but all with the collective dedication needed to take this company successfully into the future and beyond. Based on what I saw this afternoon, Company C has already proved promising, and is one worth following.
Program B will be performed at Spreckles Performing Arts Center on April 18, and at the Cowell Theatre (Fort Mason) on May 2-3 and at Dean Lesher in Walnut Creek on May 15 and 16.