BalletNext company. (Photo credit: Nisian Hughes)

BalletNext, the well-respected contemporary ballet company founded by former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Michele Wiles, announced its return to the performance arena. Wiles and company will perform in the New York Live Arts Festival, taking place between March 6-10, 2018.

Wiles and the company have been on hiatus since the founder gave birth. “Through this period of self-exploration in both her personal and professional life, Wiles has returned with a renewed creative focus and will continue exploring unique paths in the ballet world via extraordinary partnerships and by further delving into live music collaborations,” said the company in a statement. “The 2018 season will feature four new works choreographed by Wiles, along with her return to performing on stage since the expansion of her family.”

Michele Wiles
Michele Wiles (Photo credit: Albert Ayzenberg)

The company provided the following descriptions for their dance compositions:

“Vibrer” fuses classical ballet with the improvisational flow of jazz, and continues Wiles’ partnership with Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell. Harrell will perform “Vibrer” live from his latest album Moving Picture (August 2017 release) with long-time collaborator and recording artist Danny Grissett on piano. In “Vibrer,” the movements in the music are inspired by several distinctive jazz genres including New Orleans jazz and the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen. “Vibrer” propels six female dancers through space to reflect on time and personal history.

“Follin” is a world premiere that melds the dance of sign language with ballet. Co-choreographed and performed with deaf dancer Bailey Anne Vincent, this work featuring six females utilizes and expands on the intricate hand movements of American Sign Language. Follin surveys the experience of losing sound, the pervasive silence that remains, and the after effects. Set to music by Philip Glass and poetry by Robert Frost, the work will also feature a sign language interpreter as part of the performance. This work is named in honor of Vincent’s daughter who lost some of her hearing as an infant and is a tribute to deaf children as well as those who need to be heard.

“Experience” is a duet that explores the possibility of female partnering. A work that features the vigorous physicality and strength of the female body coupled with music by Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s composition of the same name, it is inspired by Wiles’ personal physical journey as a dancer through pregnancy, birth and rebuilding her performance dance strength. Experience embodies gender-neutral strength, power, and beauty.

“The Pianist,” set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in D minor places five female dancers in a playful comedy suggestive of a modernized version of Edgar Degas’ masterpieces depicting ballerinas. The work features a piano center stage played live as a flirtatious and charming piece with a surprising end unfurls.

Michele Wiles and Tom Harrell (Photo credit: Nisian Hughes)

BalletNext at New York Live Arts
Tickets: Tickets range from $10-$90 and can be purchased online.
Performance times and dates: March 6 – 9 at 7:30 p.m.; March 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Venue: New York Live Arts is located at 219 West 19th Street (between 7th and 8th avenues) in Manhattan.

For the most up-to-date schedule for all BalletNext programming, visit the BalletNext website.

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