The dancers of BalletX carry one another across the stage with elegance during the last piece of the night, “Steep Drop, Euphoric,” in Smothers Theatre on Oct. 14. Dancer Andrea Yorita said this piece is her favorite to perform because it is both physically and emotionally challenging.
Photos by Chloe Chan
Dance allows performers to express themselves and their emotions freely, and BalletX takes this to the next level.
BalletX is a Philadelphia-based ballet company that crosses boundaries. The renowned ballet company performed on the Smothers Theatre stage Oct. 14. The show consisted of four pieces — all unique in the stories and techniques. The dances consisted of a classical ballet routine, a groovy hip-hop routine and contemporary pieces.
Christine Cox, co-founder and artistic director of BalletX, said her vision for the company was to create a ballet that incorporated different genres of dance.
“You can look at it as we have a palette of all different kinds of paint and we bring in artists to create pictures, moving pictures, moving works of art,” Cox said.
Her hope for the show, Cox said, was for audiences to interpret the dances in their own way. Cox also wanted the audience to feel the passion and emotion expressed through their movement.
“When an audience member experiences the pieces, they will dive into their own narrative,” Cox said. “It’s really about the exchange that happens between the audience and the dancers.”
The first piece of the night was a youthful dance titled “Increasing,” choreographed by Matthew Neenan. The dance mimicked the energy of childhood through the carefree movements of the dancers. Dancer Andrea Yorita said this piece perfectly captures the feeling of joy.
“It’s really nice to open with that, coming back from this crazy year and a half of feeling so dark and restricted,” Yorita said. “It feels like we can spread our legs and run and feel that joy again.”
Yorita has been a part of the company for nine years — this is her tenth season. Yorita said she’s danced since she was 3 years old and the ability to communicate deep emotion through dance inspires her.
“It’s such a beautiful thing,” Yorita said. “As a dancer you try to be as vulnerable as possible, to share that part of you and to see that in a nonverbal way, I think it’s just so cool.”
Being classically trained, Yorita said she felt confined in a box of what a dancer should be, which led to a path of perfectionism as a performer. However, when she found BalletX and discovered how diverse and progressive they are she was immediately drawn in.
“The thing I loved about BalletX is that everyone was so different,” Yorita said. “I was seeing real humans on stage. Watching them move and interpret the same movement differently because of their life experience is what drew me to BalletX and I think that still holds true for me.”
“Perhaps the only piece left unexplored are the canyons of your interior geography, the dark alleys of your consciousness — one of which might lead you to your road to bliss,” Fonte wrote in his choreographer’s note.
“Steep Drop, Euphoric,” is a contemporary piece with elegant movements that emphasize the importance of vulnerability in dance and exposes the dancers’ hearts, Yorita said.
“It really pushes you physically, also emotionally,” Yorita said. “It’s a nice journey that I feel like as a dancer, feels great to go on, and I think as an audience member, it’s a nice journey for them to go on as well.”
For audience member Justin Pham, this was the highlight of the night. Pham attended because he is friends with dancer Alexandra Policaro — the two met while studying dance at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.
“I specifically really connected with the last piece on pointe, and I love the use of staging, it was really awesome,” Pham said.
Audience member and first-year Alina Arabia said she was excited to watch the ballet the minute she saw the promotional banners in front of the CAC. Arabia said she’s always loved ballet and felt connected to the performance.
“The pure emotion from each of the dancers in every single piece,” Arabia said. “You could tell that they really cared about the performance that they were giving. From head-to-toe, every single part of their body was just exuding that emotion and passion.”
Connecting with the audience is what motivates both Cox and Yorita to continue their work within BalletX and in the world of dance, they said.
“There is something that audiences leave [with] that is a lasting impression,” Cox said. “What I hope the lasting impression is, is they feel some sense of love, some sense of joy and rapture.”
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