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Miro Magloire Writes About New Chamber Ballet’s Upcoming Performances at New York City Center Studios

 Miro Magloire Writes  About New Chamber Ballet’s Upcoming Performances at New York City Center Studios

Published on November 11, 2018
photo courtesy of choreographer

Gabrielle Lamb Also Creates a New Ballet for the Company

Friday & Saturday November 16 & 17  (Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 7:30 PM)
City Center Studio 5, 130 West 56 Street (between 6th & 7th Avenues)
Tickets: $33; $19 for students/seniors
Reservations: 212.868.4444 or

Pictured above:  Dancers Amber Neff and Traci Finch in Miro Magloire's Prelude. Photo: Arnaud Falchier.

A few years ago I became uncomfortable with the premise of a traditional stage: “I’m a dancer — watch me, I’m special.” It seemed contrary to the natural impulse to dance, which I suspect has more to do with the joy of moving, being driven by music, and connecting with other people. We dance with a partner, compete, seduce, enjoy; or feed on each other’s energy when dancing in a group.

These ideas began to infiltrate my choreography: dancers projecting toward each other rather than to the audience. Soon we started to place the audience around the stage for a more communal experience. The dancers had to relearn performing in a space where you never face away from the audience: there’s no more ‘front’, ‘back’ or ‘wings’. My imagination sharpened for shapes and constellations that engage the eye from every angle. 

Two female dancers in white are interwined like pretzels on the floor. They both wear pointe shoes.
 Dancers Amber Neff and Traci Finch in Miro Magloire's Prelude. Photo: Arnaud Falchier.

Our repertory now feels more three-dimensional. When I choreograph, I constantly wander from corner to corner in the studio to keep all angles of my ballet in mind. 

We always perform to live chamber music, an experience that is even more vivid now. You can choose to sit right next to our musicians, or hear them from across the room. 

Our home for over a decade has been in the studios at New York City Center, where we present new work five times a year. Our fall season is in two weeks on November 16 and 17 with four ballets that highlight our 360-degree setting.

Three dancers in long-sleeved unitards. One dancer is on the floor with her arms and feet in pseudo plank position. A second dancer stands and supports the third dancer who is in a handstand position.
Dancers Amber Neff, Rachele Perla, and Madeleine Williams in Miro Magloire's Feel Your Fall. Photo: New Chamber Ballet.

At the start of my career I trained as a composer, and I am passionate about music that pushes boundaries. What attracted me to the composer Wolfgang Rihm in my ballet Feel Your Fall was his willingness to go to emotional extremes. His solo violin score is a tour de force of radical mood swings, pushing the dancers to go all out in the daredevil partnering they do. (Female-female partnering on pointe has been part of our repertory for years, and I can’t believe that it’s still a topic of discussion in the ballet world. Some stereotypes die slowly!)

A side profile image of Gabrielle Lamb. Wisps of hair fall around her face. Another figure is in the shot with their back away from us. They wear a a white tank top.
Gabrielle Lamb in rehearsal. Photo: Miro Magloire.

A highlight of the program is the premiere of new ballet by Gabrielle Lamb. I’ve admired Gabrielle’s work for many years, and I’m thrilled that she’s creating a work for New Chamber Ballet. When I asked her about her experience working in the round for us, she replied:

“My choreographic vocabulary uses a lot of circular momentum already, but I quickly learned a few interesting things. . .The immense importance of faces: we can accept watching dancers' backs for a certain amount of time, as long we are occasionally able to see their faces and to follow their gazes.  And once I'd invested the extra time in creating complex 3D movement that ‘shows enough face’, I was able to reuse that material within the piece more effectively than usual. Just by changing the facing and making an few extra tweaks, I could make the movement appear as a new variation on a familiar theme.”  

Gabrielle chose music by Missy Mazzoli, an ingeniously inventive composer. Since one of the pieces subtly references a piano piece by Schubert, I decided to juxtapose the two works by using Schubert’s original for my new ballet: a non-stop-moving, dynamic romp for four dancers. Dancing in a group, feeding on each other’s energy — and bringing our audience along for the ride!

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