Claudia Schreier and Company

I get to see 12 ballet companies at four shows and one studio rehearsal this weekend. I’m super excited!

Only in New York, can you find such a high concentration of dance talents… where budding choreographers (under 25 years old), rising stars (Claudia Schreier, Jeffery Cirio, Gemma Bond), and world-class ballet companies (Bolshoi Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, and New York City Ballet) are all presenting in the same city at the same time.

The first of the twelve…

Claudia Schreier showcased six works at the Joyce Theater tonight featuring ballerina extraordinaire, Wendy Whelan. Her company also included Unity Phelan (one of my favorite NYCB dancers), Amber Neff (who stepped into and danced beautifully in Emery LeCrone’s shows earlier this week), and other amazing dancers.

In extensive collaboration with composers and musicians, Claudia’s pieces featured live piano, string instruments, and chamber choir. There’s great depths in the music throughout the night. If anything, judging by the number of audience members who looked left during the show (towards the area where the musicians sat), the music might have even overpowered the dance. The movements on stage, though beautiful, felt slow in comparison to the tempo and rich development of the music.

Everyone views dance differently; music lovers may respond more strongly to this performance. Her second and final show is tomorrow (Saturday) at the Joyce Theater Ballet Festival.

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan

Wow!!! An incredible documentary about ballerina extraordinaire, Wendy Whelan, as she approaches her 30th year with the New York City Ballet.

First and foremost, it’s a story about the extraordinary strength and the unimaginable perseverance of dancers. The film opens with Wendy undergoing a gruesome surgery, as we discover that Wendy has been dancing for nearly a year despite a completely torn cartilage in her hip joint. Wendy recovers, rebuilds, and drives herself right back to the dance floor. Dancers are some of the world’s strongest athletes. If anyone ever has any doubt, ask them to watch this opening sequence.

Second, it’s a story about love. Not just the love of ballet but the love of chasing after a life-long dream: To be always dancing. To want to dance more than to live. And to give 200% of what you have, in order to live that dream.

Finally, it’s about the friendship, kinship among dancers. Cultivating in one touching beautiful final performance on the stage of Lincoln Center.

Wendy Whelan took on one of the most demanding jobs in the world, both physically and emotionally. She’s doing it. Living it. Loving it. And she continues to learn and reinvent herself even after 30 years. Go see the film. You will be inspired!