Constantine Baecher in Allow You to Look at Me, Again

Photo by Jacqueline Lopez

New Chamber Ballet:
2013 Season Program 2

New York City Center Studio 5
November 22 and 23, 2013

This was my second evening with New Chamber Ballet. The variety and quality of the pieces being shown kept me guessing as to what would happen next. The costuming was much improved as was the new version of Allow You to Look at Me (Again). I enjoyed the addition of the voice in Sister, My Sister. In general I found these dances to be more theatrical, and I found the added touch of comedy refreshing. The dancing melded well with the music to become a whole, rather than dances set to music. I would like to see the dancing continue to develop with the other performance elements and to dazzle me with a visual that is both vivid and memorable.

A Present
Choreography: Miro Magloire
Music: Peter I. Tchaikovsky, music from The Nutcracker, arranged for violin
Performed by: Doori Na, violin
Danced by: Elizabeth Brown, Holly Curran, and Amber Neff
Costumes: Candice Thompson

The costumes are fantastic, light dresses that suit the piece in style and which flowed perfectly with the movement. I found the dance, the music and the three women's personalities to be fascinating and entertaining, at times both sad and funny. Their acting as well as their dancing was extremely well done, and I enjoyed the novel use of The Nutcracker music.

Sister, My Sister
Choreography: Miro Magloire
Music: Morton Feldman, Voice, Violin, and Piano
Performed by: Charlotte Mindy, soprano; Amber Neff, dance; Doori Na, violin;
     and Melody Fader, piano
Costumes: Sarah Thea Swafford

This is a story of a classic power struggle between two sisters—Amber, the dancer and Charlotte, the voice. Billing Charlotte as just a voice is misleading as she does dance with Amber . The voice and music definitely lead and move this piece as the voice plays an actual role in the performance.

I enjoyed the layering of voice, movement, dance, and music. The voice is a haunting new element with great power. I found Charlotte's costume unflattering, baggy, and plain. As she is powerful in the piece, she deserves a power color, rather than a plain black dress that looks like an afterthought.

Stay With Me
Choreography: Miro Magloire
Music: Michel Galante, Music for Movement
Performed by: Doori Na, violin; and Melody Fader, piano
Danced by: Traci Finch, Holly Curran, and Sarah Atkins
Costumes: Sarah Thea Swafford

On the surface this piece seems to be about people losing interest in one another (moving on to someone new) and the pain of unreturned affection. However, I found it to be more abstract. (This may be possible as the music is very abstract.) During moments in the middle of the dance the dancers create fantastic lines and shapes with their well-matched interlocking movements. This is where minds and the dance seemed to click. However, I found the music a bit too edgy for me, a bit abstract, and hard to follow. In addition, the costumes were distracting and unflattering, seemingly see-through with the bras and tights bringing out the body line in unattractive ways. A simple tight-fitting costume would be great for this piece.

Allow You to Look at Me, Again
Conceived and Directed by: Constantine Baecher
Choreographed and Danced by: Constantine Baecher, Elizabeth Brown, and Holly Curran
Text: by the performers, edited by Constantine Baecher
Music: Edward MacDowell, “To a Wild Rose”; Johann Pachelbel, “Canon in D”; and Claude Debussy, “Clair De Lune”
Pianist: Melody Fader
Narrator: Jonathan Parks-Ramage
Costumes: Constantine Baecher

I found this work more developed and cohesive since my last viewing in February 2013. The narration was interesting and funny, and it worked well with the movement and music presented. A section was choreographed for each dancer, which set the stage for the dancer’s “theme,” reiterated throughout the piece. As before there is a tender moment with each of the women and Constantine. I really enjoyed the three dancing Constantine’s theme in unison. After he exits the two women continue their dance to show what might come next in their journey as performers. The ending was brilliant as the lights were extinguished one by one. If possible, the lighting should be arranged so that the extinguishing of each one would be less intrusive to the staging. I very much enjoyed the change in costumes, finding this new version to be effective and fitting for the piece itself.
—Laura Rime, November 26, 2013