Poetry in motion: New ballet ‘Silent Ghost’ a ‘very loving, very connected’ piece

Katherine Bolaños of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dances in "1st Flash," choreographed by Jorma Elo. (Courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor)
Katherine Bolaños of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dances in “1st Flash,” choreographed by Jorma Elo. (Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor)

“Poetic” is the word Tom Mossbrucker, artistic director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, uses most in describing the company’s new work, “Silent Ghost,” choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo.

“There’s a lot of poetry in the movement,” Mossbrucker said. “It’s quiet. There’s lots of imagery of two people interacting in an emotional way. There are moments when they touch hands together as if receiving energy from the other person.

“To me, it’s very loving, very connected.”

The piece premiered in Santa Fe on July 10, and will be performed again tonight and Sept. 4 when the ballet brings its summer program to the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

Mossbrucker said the new work got a very good reception from the audience. “People were in tears,” he said.

“The lighting is spectacular,” he continued. “It’s very dark and moody,” almost with the feeling that the dancers are performing in another world.

Five men and five women

from the 12-member troupe participate in the abstract piece, which is divided into five different sections with five very different pieces of music, he said. Mossbrucker characterized the music as accessible alt-rock and said the dancers wear regular street clothing.

Born in Spain, Cerrudo is resident choreographer at Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. He has said that much of his inspiration comes from music.

“If I have a specific idea and I try to find music for it, I find it quite difficult,” he said in a 2012 talk with Rebecca Gross on a National Endowment for the Arts website blog. “It’s a lot easier for me to listen to music, and then feel inspired by it and think of ideas.”

This is the second work Cerrudo has created for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; the previous one, “Last,” was presented three years ago, Mossbrucker said.

“I’ve long been a fan of his work. I was very anxious to get him back,” he added.

Craig Black, left, and Seia Rassenti are shown in a movement from "Beautiful Mistake." (Courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor)
Craig Black, left, and Seia Rassenti are shown in a movement from “Beautiful Mistake.” (Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor)

There are some similar movements in the two pieces, particularly with wide stances and the feel of dancers having a strong connection to the floor, he said. “He (Cerrudo) works from a very grounded center, dropped very, very low.”

This piece and the other two returning dances on the program will include three new dancers to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: Jenelle Figgins, who came from the Dance Theatre of Harlem; Pete Leo Walker from the Charlotte Ballet; and Anthony Tiedeman, who just graduated in May from Julliard.

“They’re doing great,” Mossbrucker said.

They will contribute freshness as a new cast for “1st Flash,” by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo. The piece, which Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presented “many years ago,” also will have new staging, according to Mossbrucker. He calls the piece “very bravura, almost bombastic, with super-complex movement.”

“It shows off the dancers’ expertise, technique and power,” he said.

The opening dance in the program is fan favorite “Beautiful Mistake,” choreographed by Cayetano Soto, which was last performed here a couple of years ago.

In the past two years, the dancers have been performing this work on tour, so they totally inhabit it – it’s probably embedded in their muscle memory, Mossbrucker said.

“There’s a lot of partnering in it, complex partnering,” he said. “Some people have described it as almost acrobatic.

“For me, it’s architectural and structural.”

Both partners have to be “really fierce,” he said, describing their movements as aggressive and harsh. Despite that description, though, he said the music is kind of New Age and dreamy, giving the piece a whole different dimension.

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