Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Momentum is a collection of six short pieces showcasing the diverse traditions and innovations in dance, as well as the talents of the company. Performed in the lower-level Bowen Theatre of Maryland Hall, as well as available online, it allows for a more intimate experience.
“Constellations” kicks off the evening, with choreography by dancer Isaac Martinez and music arranged and performed by Daniel Fecteau. In the first part, “Tears in My Eyes”, Fecteau plucks the violin while the dancers (Lindsey Bell, Karissa Kralik, Lauren Martinez, Ryan Massey, Cindy Case, Victoria Siracusa, Michael West, Carrie Cornelius, Marjorie O’Hearne, and Cassandra Hope) form duos and groups, holding and spinning each other as they extend their legs and arms. In “Resurrections” the music gets faster and more dramatic, as do the solos, duos, and trios, with dancers quickly entering and exiting the stage. In “The Stars in Your Eyes” the dancers congeal into a crowd and hoist one of them up, before turning and spinning each other and gliding across the stage. The music feels more contemporary, while the movements have a traditional feel.
“Sanctuary in Chaos,” choreographed by dancer Lindsey Bell with music by Dmitri Shostakovich, takes the opposite tack of pairing classical music to modern movements. The piece begins with five of the dancers (Destiny Billot, Sydney Giles, Anne Gutcher, Madison Sweeney, and Rowan Treece) standing and forming letters with their bodies, while the sixth (Michael West) sits in front of them, before spinning on the floor. They bend and stretch, reaching for each other as they spin themselves. They throw themselves onto the floor and at times cup their hands to their faces, as though to silently scream. It is impressive how successfully they pair such contemporary movement to traditional music, although at times it can feel repetitive. The end, however, has a nice surprise that, as Bell writes in the program, allows for “a release of emotions.”
“Adagio from The Golden Age,” with choreography set by Dmitri Tuboltsev after Grigorovich, continues the music of Shostakovich, this time using The Golden Age Op.22. Isaac Martinez and Victoria Siracusa form a lovely duo, almost constantly together. In the brief times they are apart, they reach out to each other across the stage. Martinez lifts Siracusa over his head and swings her over his back, besides spinning and extending their legs.
“Forever You” with choreography by founding Artistic Director Edward Stewart, uses Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy Op. 46. The lead couple, Lindsey Bell and Ryan Massey, along with the other dancers (Caroline Anderson, Emily Carey, Hannah Hanson, Madeline Jones, Mia Koshansky, Audrey Martin, Brenna Mazzara, Clara Molina, Isabella Warshaw, and Catherine Welch), demonstrate their control with slow, precise movements. Massey lifts Bell over his head, while the dancers spin and extend their legs.
“Paquita Pas de Deux,” with choreography set by current Artistic Director Nicole Kelsch after Petipa, takes music by Ludwig Minkus for a Spanish-themed dance. Lead couple Emily Carey and Aaron Bauer have lots of leg extensions and spins while posing their arms in a flamenco style. Meanwhile, the Corps de Ballet (Lena Easter, Karen Fleming, Savannah Green, Meredith Hardin, Taylor Martin, Julie Smith, Rachel Spicer, and Victoria Walpole) form a line behind them, extending and spinning.
“The Little Slippers” is an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s fairy tale, choreographed by Roman Mykyta to music by Tchaikovsky. In the style of a Ukrainian folk dance, which feels appropriate with current events, it tells the comic story of Vakula (Isaac Martinez) who, while off to find high-quality slippers for his beloved Oksana (Rowan Treece), wrestles with the devil (Michael West) and encounters Catherine the Great (Cindy Case). The Peasants Corps de Ballet (Destiny Billot, Sarah Hoffman, Cassandra Hope, Clara Molina, and Isabella Warshaw) powerfully stomp their feet and slap their hands together. Treece uses leg movement perfectly to show emotions, clicking her legs in displeasure and extending them in anguish at Martinez’s absence. Martinez gives an incredibly physical performance, leaping across the stage and extending his legs from a crouching position. Re-enacting his battle with the devil, he dramatically throws punches and kicks.
The Witches (Carrie Cornelius, Marjorie O’Hearne, Rachael Spicer, and Madison Sweeney) are full of energetic movement, furiously spinning around each other, then crawling up to Martinez to seize him. Michael West plays Behemoth the devil with great skill as a cat, slinking onto the stage and twirling toward his victims. His battle with Martinez is impressively athletic, leaping onto Martinez’s back several times and once, curving backward to crawl between his legs.
Cindy Case gives a dignified air to Catherine the Great, with many leg extensions and careful gliding across the stage. The Ladies in Waiting (Caroline Anderson, Amanda Cobb, Olivia Fohsz, Hannah Hanson, Mia Koshansky, and Celia Marritt) and Cavaliers (Aaron Bauer and Mark McCormack) twirl and spin each other well. A different costume, though, would have more quickly distinguished Case from the Ladies.
Momentum offers something for all sorts of dance lovers to enjoy, from classical to contemporary. Only one performance remains at Maryland Hall before one night at Prince George Community College’s Center for Performing Arts March 12, 2022, so catch it while you can!
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission.
Momentum plays through 2:00 pm February 27, 2022, presented by Ballet Theatre of Maryland performing at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts – 901 Chase Street in Annapolis, MD. Performances are also available for live-stream viewing. For tickets, call the box office at 410-280-5640 or purchase on Maryland Hall’s website. In-person tickets: $28. Online tickets: $25.
COVID Safety: Maryland Hall’s “Covid-19 Response Plan & Policies” are here.
The Momentum program is online here.