By Natasha Nesic, Contributing Writer, April 5, 2017
“They didn’t dance for show. They danced for expression,” murmured an audience member, at the end of Arch Contemporary Ballet’s world premiere of INNATE PRISMROSE on March 26, 2017 at the downtown Alchemical Theatre Laboratory.
Director Sheena Annalise envisions an era before us: primal, sensual, and driven by base needs and passion. This was her inspiration for INNATE PRISMROSE; a mechanism to pull us past the technological divide that suffuses our current culture. She senses today’s lack of interpersonal connection, and seeks to combat it with a tactile performance of skin-on-skin, using the dulcet score of award-winning composer Matthew AC Cohen and pianist Maya Kronfeld.
The body artistry displayed in this performance was a mélange of contemporary dance—nubile, expansive—and ballet’s fine-point severity. With the women clad in scraps of neutrals and navy, and the men in white shorts, the dancers embodied the bare-bones gallery space of the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory. With as little as possible left to the imagination, the audience was allowed to perceive the engenderment of each movement: twists and extensions thrown into sharper relief, shapes gathering and exploding from the ready, bound muscles of Arch’s talent.
Speaking of talent, kudos to these dancers willing to take on—and pull off—such an abstract piece. The sharp skill of soloist Katelyn Somners contrasted well with the delicacy and technique of her fellow dancers, Kara Cooper and Tori Hey, while the stalwart men accompanying them, Mikal Gilbert and Wilderlei Rudson, demonstrated incredible athleticism in sync with their partners.
This is a young company, and ready to take on the world. It will be a pleasure to see how they grow through our turbulent times, and how they proceed to interpret the trammels of our culture through dance.
INNATE PRISMROSE (world premiere) presented by the Arch Ballet at The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, 104 West 14th Street, New York on March 24-26, 2017. Choreography by Sheena Annalise, Artistic Director; music by Matthew AC Cohen; lighting design by Robert Glowacki; Maya Kronfeld, pianist. Dancers: Katelyn Somners, Kara Cooper, Tori Hey, Mikal Gilbert, and Wilderlei Rudson.
Cover: Sheena Annalise; photo courtesy of Arch Ballet.