BalletNext invites audiences to look at ‘Works in Process’

Intimate event shows how a dance is created

BalletNext: ‘Works in Process’

From left: BalletNext dancer Preston Swovelin, Artistic Director Michele Wiles, and dancers Matthew Helms and Kyra Hughes, along with choreographer Brian Reeder, prepare to rehearse Reeder’s new work “Between the Two” at Wiles’ home studio. The work will be part of the dance company’s “Works in Process” showcase on Sept. 19 at the Jim Santy Auditorium. The public will be able to see how a dance comes together, and have a chance to participate in a Q and A.
Photo by Matthew Helms

Michele Wiles wants to give Park City a glimpse behind the dance curtain.

So, BalletNext’s artistic director will present “Works in Process,” from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Park City Library’s Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.

The performance is a rare opportunity for the public to experience the creation of new dance works in real time, said Wiles.

“The audience will see how the dancing and the music need to line up, and how much communication is involved between the dancers and musicians, and also between the dancers themselves,” she said. “The audience will also see how the dancers figure out certain phrases, passages and choreography, and how we can make transitions smoother, or how we can connect better.”

After we get that feedback, we’ll be able to go back into the studio to change things or rethink a few things.” Michele Wiles, BalletNext artistic director

Wiles plans to showcase two works — the iconic “White Swan Pas de Deux” from “Swan Lake” and a new work called “Between the Two,” by renowned choreographer Brian Reeder.

“The pas de deux is an unbelievable partnering feat,” she said. “There is a lot of communication that we have to go through to effortlessly perform this choreography.”

BalletNext plans to fully perform this work during the “Best of ‘Swan Lake'” performance that is scheduled for Oct. 25 at the Santy Auditorium, Wiles said.

“We have to know it so well, and know each other so well in order to take it to the next level,” she said. 

Reeder’s work, “Between the Two,” was choreographed in August, and BalletNext will premiere it on Oct. 26, the night after the “Best of ‘Swan Lake,'” Wiles said.

“The music was composed by Carolyn Shaw, and we’ll have the String FX Quartet playing it live,” she said.

The first movement of “Between the Two” is called “Limestone and Felt” and the second movement is called “Entr’acte,” which are named after Shaw’s compositions, Wiles said.

“The first movement is like an introduction, and it’s fiery and fast,” she said. “The second movement is so beautiful, and there is so much change and experimentation with the instruments.”

In addition to bowing their strings, the musicians will create percussion by tapping on their instruments’ bodies or plucking their strings, Wiles said.

“The musicians have told us that this work is ‘blister causing,'” she said with a laugh.

The dancing was also created in an experimental way, Wiles said.

“Brian starts out with four phrases, and he asks all of us to improvise movements based on letters,” she said. “I had an M for Michele, and each phrase will start with the letter that we all had.”

During the improvisation, Reeder would add maneuvers and dance steps, according to Wiles.

“We would have to know the (original) four phrases, because he would call them out as we were adding the new things,” she said. “Then we had to figure out the arm (movements) that would go with the phrases, and the arm phrases came from the dance steps.”

“Between the Two” is very group oriented, which means the dancers — Wiles, Matthew Helms, Kyra Hughes and Preston Swovelin — had to keep an open line of communication with themselves and the musicians.

“It was a brain twister,” Wiles said. “There are parts where the dancers have to sync up with and look at the musicians, and the musicians have certain cues they need to follow, and things like that.”

The work marks Wiles’ fifth world-premiere collaboration with Reeder.

“We did four works in New York, and I have known him for 20 years,” she said. “We danced together at American Ballet Theatre, and when I left the company in 2011, we created four new ballets. So, when he came out to Park City I kept saying, ‘Is this for real?'”

Wiles is grateful that she can present “Works in Process” on the Jim Santy Auditorium stage.

“Having this place as our new home is another dream,” she said. “It’s incredible to have a partnership with the library, because this gives the dancers, myself and the musicians a chance to be in a theater and foresee what the ballet is going to look like.”

The event will also give the audience an opportunity to give the dancers feedback.

“The program will be followed by a question and answer session, and after we get that feedback, we’ll be able to go back into the studio to change things or rethink a few things,” she said.

The idea to present “Works in Process” in Park City stems from similar events Wiles participated in while with ABT.

“We would invite patrons to watch and they were enthralled, because they felt like they were behind the scenes and getting an inside view of what it’s like to be in the process of getting a work on stage,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Why don’t we do this in Park City?'”


Scene Happenings: Sept. 30 and beyond

Ziegfeld Theater Company continues its two-weekend run of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” from Sept. 30-Oct. 1, and Oct. 5-8 at the Egyptian Theatre.

See more

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