Art comes to life in Ballet Pensacola’s latest production, “Trajectory.”
As a follow-up of sorts to last year’s “Possible Symmetry,” which took place inside Pensacola Museum of Art, the ballet company is collaborating again with the visual arts.
“It has the same feel,” said Richard Steinert, artistic director for Ballet Pensacola. “The messages are very different, but we used the same trampoline to jump off. We’re just going in different directions.”
This year, the performance will be at Artel Gallery. Collecting the artwork to juxtapose each of the small ballets is different this year, too. Pieces to be used with the show come from the walls of the company’s staff and donors.
“This evening really is a more diverse offering,” Steinert said.
The artwork not only visually enhances the performance, but inspires some of the choreography.
“It’s another layer,” said Christine Duhon, ballet mistress. “When we do a traditional ballet, we already have the music and story dictated to us. With this performance, I have to think if I have music that makes sense with the artwork and the story. I like the challenge.”
Duhon likened the process of looking for artwork like looking for a dress.
“There’s just that one that you see and you know that’s it,” she said. “I looked for pieces I could relate to. There is one artwork that I picked out that I think people will be surprised by. The dancers have really enjoyed it.”
Steinert approached his choreography a little differently, he said. It’s often surprising to people who Steinert and Duhon, who are married, work so differently. But that’s what makes the productions so special.
“There’s no way we’re going to have the same ballet,” he said.
A couple of Steinert’s ballets within “Trajectory” dig in to human issues. One is “Sapphire Linings.”
“It’s really a piece about social position and hierarchy and birth places,” he said. “It’s about the cards we are dealt with, whether it’s a positive or negative thing.”
The idea for the ballet came out of a regular movie night.
“Someone told me to watch ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ because they thought I would find the dance sequence at the end very funny,” he said. “But what I actually took away from the movie was the music. I got my phone out and downloaded the CD. That’s when the whole hierarchy thing began, and I got the idea for ‘Sapphire Linings.’”
Another ballet was actually inspired by a dream, which prompted Steinert to explore how men say goodbye.
“It’s not about sexuality, but how men react to being with loved ones and how they say goodbye,” Steinert said. “It came to me when I had a dream my best friend died, but I was unable to go to the funeral and the only way to say goodbye was to wave at the hearse as it drove by the studio. It turned into an interesting ballet.”
For those looking for a pre-Valentine’s Day date night, don’t worry, there’s some lightheartedness in the show, too. However “Trajectory” comes at a time when the performers and choreographers are looking to step outside of the traditional box. The ballet’s last performance was their annual “Nutcracker” show.
“It’s something we can sink our teeth into,” Steinert said.
“We started working on this production right before Christmas,” Duhon added. “There was a lot of overlap with this and ‘The Nutcracker.’ When we came back to work, we just hit the ground running.”
While “The Nutcracker” brings in a few thousand viewers, “Trajectory” is a more personal performance housed within the limited parameters of an art gallery. But Duhon said the company’s production designer Lance Brannon has a plan of attack for all occasions.
The smaller, unique venue is actually the perfect spot to unleash “Trajectory”— a production full of emotions surrounded by works of art from people’s personal collections.
“It’s one of my favorite productions to do,” Duhon said. “Quite a few of the pieces tell a story and that’s what I like to do.”
“It’s quite personal and has a deep connection to it,” Steinert added. “It has a deeper emotional quotient.”
As seen in Independent News