Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
547 West 26th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
February 6-7, $35, 7:00 & 9:00
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s latest biannual immersive performance installation is their best yet, a thrilling display of movement and music that cohesively melds the vast skills of the talented sixteen-person Chelsea company with the unique sounds of Brooklyn-based string duo Chargaux. About fifteen minutes before the start of the event, which is choreographed by the full company along with artistic director Alexandra Damiani, the dancers start walking around the Chelsea space as the audience filters in. Dressed in all black, the serious-faced dancers occasionally pair off into brief pas de deux as they make their way around a central circular stage in silence. They hug, push, lift, and writhe on the floor with one another, weaving through the growing crowd. At the top of the hour, Jasper Gahunia’s electronic score kicks in and the show revs into high gear. Over the course of the next hour or so, the performers range about the room, gathering on the center stage, jumping onto large and small platforms on the south and east sides, climbing the light riggings to the north, and popping up high on a riser to the west. Charly and Margaux, wearing long, colorful skirts and tight tan bras, sometimes find themselves in the middle of the action — or grinding off to the side with one of the hulky male dancers. Nicholas Houfek’s lighting will suddenly shine on a specific area where a dance will break out, then shift to another corner. The eight women dancers (Vânia Doutel Vaz, Ida Saki, Rachelle Scott, Ebony Williams, Madeline Wong, Jin Young Won, Navarra Novy-Williams, and apprentice Daphne Fernberger) take over the stage, followed by the eight men (Jon Bond, Joaquim de Santana, Joseph Kudra, Matthew Rich, Nickemil Concepcion, Guillaume Quéau, Raymond Pinto, and apprentice Patrick Coker), in a kind of battle of the sexes. At one point, the dancers form into two horizontal lines and circle the stage, the audience moving with them, a rapturous moment of intimate bonding. Soon the black skirts and tops come off, the women magically manipulate the men from above, and then everyone joins in for an exciting finale featuring a musically erotic flourish. There will be two more performances on February 7; Cedar Lake will then hit the road, returning to New York City in June for four shows at BAM consisting of Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, Johan Inger’s Rain Dogs, and a new piece by Richard Siegal on June 3 & 5 and Jacopo Godani’s Symptoms of Development and Emanuel Gat’s Ida? on June 4 & 6.