Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 7, 2010

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Fine Arts Center, Amherst, MA
October 2, 2010
by Stacie Beland

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet offered a stunning program of three works as part of the Center Series at UMass. Each piece was expertly performed by its dancers, and often curtain calls had to be extended to satisfy the audience’s need to applaud.

The first, Jo Stromgren’s Sunday, Again, was a hard-hitting work set to Bach’s “Jesu, meine Freude,” Motet no. 3 in E minor. The choreography ranged from playfully breezy to brutal, organically moving through every emotion in between. Couples came together and tore apart in a beautifully staged piece that incorporated elements of a badminton game, serving as a nebulous metaphor. Thematically, the dancers were in the leisure whites and always seemed to be ebbing against the shore of some violent conflict. There was a restrained, almost dignified, tension. The concepts of being out-of-bounds and of being partners are explored, and to beautiful success.

In contrast, Jacopo Godani’s UNIT IN REACTION, was a cold and distant work, pushing geometrical patterns set to an almost industrial score by Ulrich Muller and Siegfriend Rossert of 48Nord. Remarkably, the piece captured the imagination, despite its sparse staging. The dancers, androgynously clothed, moved in cold machinations. Despite the almost apocalyptic-like feel, there was spontaneity to the movement, perhaps a chaos-theory answer to this world that seems governed by pulse-like rhythm.

Lastly, Cedar Lake presented Didy Veldman’s frame of view, set to a variety of music of wildly diverse genres. It was an imposing work, with a limited set of a wall-less room hallmarked by three yellow doors. The room was cleverly delineated on the stage, but the doors appeared to be magically suspended. There is a lot of madness that can occur in a single small room, which the audience was witness. Gradually, the metaphor revealed itself (a little too obviously at times) and as music changed, the room filled and emptied. In addition to being brilliantly staged, the piece was remarkably well-lit. Despite simply leading to a few feet away and in full-view onstage, each of the doors offered mystery and intrigue, thanks to an ingenious lighting design by Ben Ormerod.