Mordance Season IV: A Review

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When your cousin is a ballet dancer, you go to a lot of ballet. And when your cousin starts her own ballet company, you go and support, even if you would rather stay home on a Thursday night, watch trashy Lifetime movies and paint nails.

Family first is and always has been my motto.

Thankfully going to a Mordance show, is a much better alternative, then a teen mom sleeping with her teacher, murdering the wife and still trying to exorcise Rosemary’s baby.  It sure as heck is better for sleeping. Psychotic youth? Or beautiful graceful dancers in your dreams? I will definitely take the later!

No, it isn’t nepotism. My cousin is a damn good choreographer, and dancer. Her artistic vision blends old with new, inspiring new ways to invigorate and mold the ballet world. With Mordance being in its fourth season and having been written up in the New York times and  featured on channel 1 amongst other well known news outlets, you can not fake being the real deal. Morgan McEwen is the real deal.

Opening their season for the third time at the Sheen Center’s intimate Black Box Theater, which is located in the artsy and vibrant village off of Bleeker Street. It is the perfect venue for this small yet avant garde New York City based ballet company.

Having been to the last three premiers here, the one notable, yet very welcome change, was the seating. To add to the feel and tone of the performances, the stage was set in the middle of the audience. While it can be easy to check out during a show at times, this kept it not only fresh but entirely engaging. Every move, every breath, every drop of sweat, you not only noticed, but felt, sometimes literally. It gave the show a more intimate feel, connecting not just on a visual level, but also emotional.

Ms. McEwen created two new original pieces for the premiere; Apart from the Peripheral Music, and Propinquity as well as a continuation with The Shape of Voice Music. With a core of seven incredibly talented dancers (five women, two men) including two veterans of the company, athleticism and chemistry abounded in each piece.

The night began with The Shape of Voice Music. A piece that was originally commissioned for  Columbia Ballet and completed for the premiere of Mordance’s Season IV. The music had a tribal beat, which is common in many of Ms McEwen’s musical selections, and was understated yet deliberate with the movements as well as costume choices.

Apart from the Peripheral Music was next. It was performed with live musicians and all female ballet dancers on pointe. With music specially arranged for this ballet, the audience was on the edge of their seats when they realized muscians would actually be playing along with the dancers performing. The costumes were stunning and chic, in a blush color with long flowing skirts and cropped tops, even Anna Wintour would be proud at the modern fashionable take.

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The third, Propinquity, had an edgier athletic feel amongst the gracefulness that represents ballet. It is also that piece that I feel represents Ms. McEwen’s vision for her company. The melding of classical dance with contemporary, while keeping the clean lines, deliberate movements, and elegance that most people recognize when attending a show. It showcased the incredible strength of the dancers and held the audience’s attention even making my neighbor sitting next to me do a little dance himself.

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The incredible thing about art, whether it is ballet, painting, or even writing, the beauty channels and connects to different people on so many levels. For me The Shape of Voice Music was my least favorite piece with Propinquity ending the night in an outstanding fashion.

All in all it was a night full of talent, storytelling, and exquisite dancing. It was definitely much better then a night in watching a pregnant Zombie apocalypse on Lifetime.

Tickets are still available if you are interested in attending a performance this weekend at the Black Box Theatre at the Sheen Center through Sunday. Nothing says city like taking in a little art and this is well worth it. Who knows you might even catch me there.

For Tickets

Info on Mordance

All photos are courtesy of the Mordance website and taken by the incredibly talented photographer Kelsey H Campbell If you need a photographer in the city, I highly recommend her! 

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