By Jan Jaben-Eilon
The three New Choreographic Voices presented by the Atlanta Ballet for a quick run at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, March 22-24, couldn’t be more different from each other.
From Christopher Wheeldon’s soft “Rush,” to the relationships story of Gina Patterson’s “I Am,” to the energetic Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 16,” the Atlanta Ballet offers something for every member of the audience.
Just weeks earlier,“Minus 16” was presented to Atlanta dance enthusiasts by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Atlanta Ballet’s premiere of the piece is every bit as vigorous. The choreographic masterpiece by the world renowned Naharin begins and ends comically with dancers improvising and expressing Naharin’s innovative dance language known as “Gaga,” which focuses on a mind-body connection.
The music ranges from Dean Martin to “Echad Mi Yode’a,” or “Who Knows One?” a favorite of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover. Dressed as religious Jews in black hats and suits, the enthusiastic dancers perform the hilarious piece, even singing the repeated last verse in Hebrew.
Importantly, if you have ever wanted an opportunity to dance with the Atlanta Ballet, this is your chance. “Minus 16” includes participation from an audience already emotionally engaged in the music and dance. The lively conclusion of the evening totally energizes the audience, which is invariably clapping rhythmically to the music.
In contrast, “I Am,” according to the choreographer Gina Patterson, is “a richly layered, deeply threaded tapestry of insights, questions and inspirations that will lead you on a journey, allowing you time to connect and reflect, to discover your own stories unfolding,” just as the final dancer masterfully unfolds her body.
Similarly, “Rush” provides the ballet troupe of 21 dancers to fluidly and creatively – and seemingly effortlessly – express themselves with their agile bodies.
Jan Jaben-Eilon, a journalist, is a guest blogger for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. She was a founding staff writer of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Since then, she has been the international editor of Advertising Age magazine and has written for such publications as The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Jerusalem Report, Washington Journalism Review and Consumer Reports. Jan and her husband have homes in Atlanta and Jerusalem.