What Happens If…
Probably most known by audiences for his “Billy” and So You Think You Can Dance Lex Ishimoto makes his debut as a choreographer for a professional ballet company with What Happens If…
Featuring Lia Cirio, Madysen Felber, Emily Hoff, Sage Humphries, Sangmin Lee, Sunwoo Lee, Abigail Merlis, Irlan Silva, and Gearóid Solan, the contemporary piece is set to music by Kurtis Sprung.
“The inspiration for this piece is the title: What Happens If. What happens if we push the boundaries of dance? What happens if the dancers destroy the normal and expected? What happens if we explore, move, evolve? People think that they know what standard classical ballet is and can be, but what happens if we change all that,” Ishimoto said.
Process & Progress also features debuts of a different sort; this will be the first time that internationally recognized choreographers Ken Ossola and Nanine Linning create for an American company.
As the title suggests, the work was created via Zoom – Ossola in Europe and the dancers in Boston, ultimately filming at the Citizens Bank Opera House.
“Fratres” by Arvo Pärt is the audio backdrop to featured dancers María Álvarez, Tyson Clark, Paul Craig, Daniel Durrett, Chyrstyn Fentroy, John Lam, Nina Matiashvili, Tigran Mkrtchyan, Alec Roberts, Haley Schwan, and Patrick Yocum.
“Inspired by the dancers and the meditative composition from Arvo Pärt’s ‘Fratres,’ the online sessions led to a work that invites one to zoom in on intimacy, integrity, human emotions, and the great desire to stay connected. Separated by an ocean yet being connected online with a view through a screen gave me the opportunity to be near the dancers and zoom in on every detail to translate it into movement that will invite the audience to zoom in as well,” Ossola said.
La Voix Humaine
Linning’s piece was also filmed at Boston’s iconic theater and is set to the opera of the same name by Jean Cocteau with music by Francis Poulenc.
The featured cast includes Ji Young Chae, Soo-bin Lee, Molly Novak, Paulina Waski, Lasha Khozashvili, Benji Pearson, Lawrence Rines, My’Kal Stromile, and Nations Wilkes-Davis.
“In this short film, I wanted to melt my passion for dance and opera together. I was drawn to La Voix Humaine for its relevance today. Themes of isolation, letting go of a loved one, and farewell resonates with me and many of us in the times we live in. I felt truly connected during our long-distance process and although sharing our experience in a sad time reflected in the theme of La Voix Humaine, it was an extraordinary experience to be able to exchange and share our passion for art and feeling comforted by the boundless power of art.” Linning said.
In an ode to their city, Boston Ballet Dancers Daniel Cooper, Louise Hautefeuille, Lauren Herfindahl, Graham Johns, Benji Pearson, Lily Price, Nina Matiashvili, and Addie Tapp dance in Boston’s MBTA locations Ashmont Station and Alewife Station.
“As relevant now as at any point in our history, moving pARTS is a reminder that we are better and more resilient when we celebrate the commonalities among our differences. Seeking the best in each other brings us closer to our artistic identities that allow us to shape our society together,” said Lam.