Dance Mogul: What is the purpose of your current production?
Arch Contemporary Ballet (ACB) challenges the past and launches into the future with new pointe work, new music, and new ideas about what ballet can be. Château pays homage to French Architecture of Chateau de Fontainebleau and the historical figures that play a part in the creation of the Château. The choreography tests the framework of what a body can do, questioning classicism with partnering and pointe work, and explores the creative process by setting the dance before the music. With the Arch Sound Ensemble sharing the stage with the dancers, they are essential to the ballet’s setting, spotlighting female partnering, and forming metaphorical walls of the Château. As the movement progresses, the quartet establishes different chambers for the dancers to explore creating powerful symmetry and visual lines. Additionally, the work is embellished with lavish fabrics, draped from the rafters to the skirts of the dancers. This creates an additional dimension to the Parisian and historical backdrop layering the audience experience and the overall temperature and setting of the work. –Sheena Annalise (Artistic Director and Founder)
Dance Mogul: What are some of the behind the scenes work ethic, inspiration, and empowerment that went into production?
Arch: Behind the scenes, rehearsing begins the moment you wake up and ends right before you go to bed. This means taking time outside of set rehearsals to practice on your own and put good thought into characters, storyline, movement, spacing, timing. Etc. you don’t just pack up your bag and leave when rehearsal is over – something that I believe non-dancers are unaware of. Not only does each dancer need to constantly be thinking of the story and choreography, but each dancer needs to stay inspired. Watching my fellow Arch dancers in rehearsal keeps me inspired, as well as listening to the music over and over again. Every time I hear it, I find different sounds that affect my emotions and the dynamics of my movement every time I perform it in rehearsal. –Hope Parker (dancer)
To get ready for the piece to take the stage, the music plays a big part in Arch Contemporary Ballet. The process for composing this piece was the opposite of what is the norm for dance. The choreography was written before the music. In order for this to work it was necessary for me to have a video of the dance in silence, and really understand the story the dancers were telling. The process of composing was then like setting music to a movie. Some adjustments to tempo were made through rehearsal but generally, I tried to stay in tune with the feel the dancers were going for. It has been an interesting process- an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. Rather than dancers always using music as a cue there are many times where the musicians are being cued by the movement of the dancers. This requires working with musicians who are comfortable with spontaneity and not always reading everything off the page. You’ll see Arch Sound Ensemble take the stage for this upcoming performance June 14th – 16th.
–Concetta Abbate (composer)
Dance Mogul: How were you able to find the balance between live musicians and dancers so that they both would shine?
Arch: A major component of making sure both dancers and musicians shine is the manipulation of space. Throughout the production, we move to various points on stage and make different formations that change how the dancers use the stage. We ourselves become the staging. What usually happens is that the musicians are in a pit off in the corner and we’re thought of as an accompaniment. I once heard a conductor say “if the audience notices the pit, we’re doing a bad job”, meaning that if an audience member is taken away from the stage and to the pit, then we’ve distracted them (usually with a sour note). The dancers in a dance performance are always going to be noticed; they’re dancers. With this production, the string quartet becomes part of a live on-stage collaboration for ballet and music, rather than an afterthought. –Kate Barmotina (violist)
Having the musicians right on stage with us makes it more powerful. It feels like we are immersed right in the music!–Fallon Gannon (dancer)
Even though in the first minute it feels really odd, when the music and the dance merge together with practice it creates a perfect marriage that also allows the dancers and musicians to express the best of ourselves individually and harmoniously on stage together. -Patrick Piras (Soloist dancer)
Dance Mogul: What do you hope the audience takes away from the performance?
Arch: Each audience member has the opportunity to create their own experiences with our movement, feel their own emotions, and connect in their own unique way, that is what makes seeing our performances so special. Yes, there is a theme, and we had inspiration from certain events, but if the audience finds their own connection, so be it, that is all we hope for. -Adrienne Riter (Soloist Dancer)
I hope that the audience can see the choreography as a visual embodiment of Concetta’s score. –Kate Barmotina (violist)
I always imagine a perfect show where the audience merges with the dancers in a fantastic exchange of feelings and emotions. –Patrick Piras (Soloist dancers)
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you with the production?
Arch: As the Artistic Director of Arch Contemporary, I can’t thank enough all of the members of the company. From each and every one of our dancers to our fantastic roster of musicians to our 21st-century composers who continue to create excellent work for the company, and to all of our supporters. As a young and thriving company, our generous supporters are what keep us creating new work. Our patrons, audience in attendance, and fans keep our art alive and we can’t thank them enough. -Sheena Annalise (Artistic Director)
Join Arch Contemporary Ballet Tuesday, June 14th – Thursday, June 16th presented by The Davenport Theatre Blackbox in NYC for one of ACB’s newest works “Château”. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.
Twelve dancers, four moving musicians, exciting partner work on pointe, 100+ yards of fabric, and a contemporary commissioned music score take the stage.
Advanced General admission tickets: $25
Advanced Visionaries of ACB Tickets: $35