Columbia Ballet Collaborative will unite student dancers with up-and-coming and professional choreographers in a performance at Miller Theatre this weekend.
With performances on May 3 and 4, CBC's show will feature works by six choreographers: George Balanchine, Caitlin Trainor, Katherine Bergstrom, CC '14, Constantine Baecher, Jeremy McQueen, and Michele Wiles.
Trainor, a Barnard faculty member, as well as Baecher, McQueen, and Wiles, have created original works for the performances.
In addition to professional and amateur choreography, the performance also features performances with a wide range of experience.
“You can see people who have danced on the Lincoln Center stage, people who haven't, and people who are coming right out of high school,” CBC's assistant artistic director Audrey Crabtree-Hannigan, CC '15, said. “You can see them all on the same stage together, and that's something that I think is very unique.”
Though many of the dancers enter with a technical base in classical ballet, according to Crabtree-Hannigan, CBC's board works to ensure that each program displays a broad diversity of movement styles.
“The program this year is very diverse, and I think it will cater to a lot of people's dance tastes,” Bergstrom said. “Jeremy McQueen is making a very classical piece. We have George Balanchine on the program. And then you have Caitlin Trainor, whose piece is very modern. She makes references to Paul Taylor and the school of modern dance.”
While each choreographer receives a small stipend for his or her work, the true benefit of working with CBC is the creative liberty it provides.
“We provide free studio space and free dancers,” Crabtree-Hannigan said. “We give them a small amount, so that's not the motivation. The motivation is the chance for them to create a work with a much lower overhead cost, but that work is then their property.”
One CBC success story is Justin Peck, a soloist with the New York City Ballet with several commissions from NYCB. Peck set his first piece of commissioned choreography, “A Teacup Plunge,” on CBC dancers in 2009.
Bergstrom, the sole student choreographer, will premiere her nine-minute work, “Accession Number:” this weekend. The title references the catalogue numbers that accompany pieces of art in museums.
“I wanted to reference the dancers as art objects, but I also left the number blank, so it's like they haven't yet been assigned a number,” Bergstrom said. “They exist as art objects, but they are not catalogued, they're not static, they're not put away in archive. They're living in front of you.”
CBC will perform on May 3 at 8 p.m. and May 4 at 3 p.m. in Miller Theatre. Tickets are $10 with a CUID.
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