Hidden Stories

BalletCollective in All That We See. © Matthew Murphy.
BalletCollective in All That We See. © Matthew Murphy.


Troy Shumacher’s dances always seem to contain some kind of story, even if you can’t quite tell what that story is. He likes to work with writers, painters, and composers; together they develop a hidden libretto. The results can be a little mysterious. At the same time, his dances have a lot of intention; the dancers are never less than engaged. Their movements seldom feel gratuitous or showy. (And the dancers he chooses, all from City Ballet, are so good!) His ensemble, BalletCollecive, just ended a two-night run at the Skirball. I reviewed it here.

And here’s a feature on Schumacher I wrote for the Times.

Movin’ on Up

Next week, at the New York City Ballet gala (Sept. 23), the young choreographer Troy Schumacher will see his work performed by his home company for the first time. (Schumacher dances in the corps.) I’ve been following his work for a while; he’s an interesting and thoughtful guy, and determined as hell. I wrote this feature on him for the Times’ Arts and Leisure (officially out on Sunday). There’s some background on him—his approach to choreography and collaboration, his fascination with dancers and the way they move, and his commitment to contemporary music.

And if you’re hungry for more, here’s a long interview with Schumacher from last year.

Dancers at rest, by Troy Schumacher
Dancers at rest, by Troy Schumacher



Two Young Choreographers on the Move: Justin Peck and Troy Schumacher

Last week I attended lecture-dems showcasing the work of two young choreographers, both of whom are also members of New York City Ballet. I wonder what they’re putting in the rosin over there at the StateTheatre, because there really seems to be an upsurge in creativity in the ranks. (But why, still, no women choreographers?) The notion that ballet is a languishing form flies out of the window when one sees their work and hears them talk.

Works & Process talk at the Guggenheim: Ellen Barr, Justin Peck, Michael P. Atkinson, Sufjan Stevens and Karl Jensen. Photo by Jacklyn Meduga for Works & Process at the Guggenheim.

You’ll find a discussion of the two events here, for DanceTabs. And a short excerpt:

“It has now become clear that ballet is undergoing an important evolution, and I’m not referring to the overwrought, effect-laden mannerisms of much of what is referred to as “contemporary ballet.” This is a change that is blossoming within ballet’s own idiom, using the specific skill-set of ballet dancers: jumping, turning, balancing, sliding, skittering on pointe, flickering the legs at warp speed, tipping and extending hyper-articulate bodies.”

Onward, Ballet

Ashley Laracey and Taylor Stanley in Troy Schumacher's "Warehouse Under the Hudson"
Ashley Laracey and Taylor Stanley in Troy Schumacher’s “Warehouse Under the Hudson”

After a little hiatus, here’s my first review of the pre-season, for DanceTabs. It’s a roundup of the second half of the so-called “Ballet v6.0 Festival,” a showcase of young choreographers working outside of the large ballet institutions (presented by the Joyce Theatre).  I caught the work of three choreographers: Olivier Wevers, Troy Schumacher, and Jessica Lang. Been wondering what the up-and-coming generation of ballet choreographers is up to? Well, here’s a peek.

A short excerpt: “There are lingering questions in people’s minds about ballet’s validity. Mainly, these tend to focus on the academicism of its forms, on the question of what is suitable content for dance, and, inevitably, on the stark gender division implied by the pointe shoe. What are the ethics and esthetics of dancing on pointe in 2013?”
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