BY CHRISTINA LIEFFRING
Take three nationally renowned choreographers, each with a unique style and artistic sensibility; pair them with one of the top three dance companies in Kansas City and give them the opportunity to create and perform new works of choreography in Yardley Hall, and you get New Dance Partners.
“New Dance Partners represents a unique collaboration in the Kansas City area,” said Emily Behrmann, general manager of the performing arts at the college. “It’s exciting to realize that the college is making work possible that didn’t exist before this project.”
New Dance Partners is partly funded by a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $36,649 Creative Support Grant from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.
“We’re truly investing in the Kansas City dance community,” said Behrmann.
San Francisco-based choreographer Amy Seiwert’s work, titled “Concertino,” was inspired by the music by Arcangelo Corelli, a baroque-era composer.
“I’ve made ballets to Bach and Mozart, Patsy Cline and Leonard Cohen,” said Seiwert. “This is the most classical I’ve been in a while but it felt nice to do something a little more classical.”
While the music inspired her initial concept for the work, flexibility is key to creating a new work of choreography.
“You start kind of seeing the structure, so you can kind of sketch a plan,” said Seiwert. “Then you meet the dancers and allow the plan to be blown to smithereens. You learn not get too attached to any one plan.”
Learning about the dancers and building the choreography around their strengths is key for Seiwert.
“Kansas City Ballet is a wonderfully diverse group of artists in their strengths,” she said. “If you actively collaborate with them, see them as individual artists, really let the piece follow its course by following their strengths … it starts to have its own life.”
For Kansas City Ballet company dancers, Danielle Bausinger and Liang Fu, this presents an opportunity for them to show their best.
“You get to show off what you’re good at, especially with [Seiwert],” said Fu. “She’s very good about seeing what everyone’s good at, which makes everyone look better on stage.”
“We’ve all contributed fragments and pieces to the choreography as a whole,” said Bausinger.
Rehearsals took two weeks, but required dancing full six hour day instead of dancing half days over a longer rehearsal period.
“It keeps you on your toes,” said Basinger. “You get tired but you build stamina. This process pushes you to be on top of yourself all the time.”
“It’s a lot of time with the dancers,” said Seiwert. “You create together for six hours a day, then go home and stare at the video for the day. It’s pretty intense.”
In spite of the decades of long hours and fatigue, Seiwert still finds inspiration in dance.
“You can always find something new, I think to me, as a dancer, and as a dance creator,” she said, “you keep finding another level, keep finding other ways to do things. There’s always something different to try. There are so many beautiful dancers all over this country. Getting to meet them and work with them is such a gift.”
Contact Christina Lieffring, news editor, firstname.lastname@example.org