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State Street Ballet’s ‘Modern Masters’

Choreography That Reflects the Country and the City


Last year’s inaugural spring performance by State Street Ballet (SSB) at the New Vic was powerful; this one was ecstatic. It started with thrilling classical pointe work and ended in rapturous modern sensuality. In between, the company explored everything from the social dynamics of the New York subway to the esprit of the boulevards of Paris.

“Trains of Thought,” the new work created by Cecily Stewart to the music of Depeche Mode, was intelligent, clever, and brimming with joy. The dancers acted out a variety of New York street and subway scenes and then came together in a moment of unforgettable collective effervescence. “Trains” shows how far Stewart has come as a choreographer in just one year, and it clearly deserves to be seen by audiences elsewhere, particularly in New York.

William Soleau knows this company better than anyone, and his passionate 2004 piece “Sonnets of Love and Death” will always have a place in the SSB repertoire. Newcomer Kevin Jenkins charmed the crowd at the beginning of the second act with “C’est la Vie,” a sprightly examination of French street style in all its flirtatious glory. Finally, Gina Patterson, a choreographer based in Jackson Hole, contributed “The Call,” which was inspired by the timeless relevance of flowing water to the human condition. The performances in this demanding contemporary work reminded us of just how fortunate we are to have such a talented group of dancers in residence.

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