The first half of the current version still explores and contrasts this variety of perspectives: the dark, focused intensity of the opening movement with the full cast; the ardent and almost plaintive longing of Van Buskirk’s pas de deux with his frequent partner Christian Clark; the fun, clownish duet between Heath Gill and guest artist Bret Coppa, who was with the Atlanta Ballet from 2017-21. After the intermission, however, the sections evolved from “joint” vignettes of different experiences – and different choreographic styles – into a sublime synthesis. The dancers’ movements expressed emotional contrasts and contradictions, maintaining a joyful absorption into the present in a cautious tension with nostalgia for the moments that have slipped away.
During the Sunday morning, company newcomers Ashley Eleby and Jackie nash gave exceptional performance. Particularly memorable was a pas de quatre in the first half where Nash and Eleby were joined by veterans of Terminus Clark and Gill, the third co-choreographer of “Roam”. The two women both displayed flawless, fluid technique and magnetic stage presence, and each brought their own unique musicality to the movement. Nash’s pas de deux with his spouse and partner Gill during the second half was also exquisite, showcasing Lee’s knack for breaking new ground on the adagio form. It started with a sequence of movements in which Nash slowly walked across the stage towards Gill, never getting up and staying almost entirely in the lower third of the visual plane between the floor and waist height.
The four proteges – Claire Lee, Summer McNeill, Anna Owen and Katelyn Sager – all did well in the difficult choreography, coping in sections where the whole ensemble was on stage. Lee and Sager in particular already seemed well suited to Terminus’ unique fusion of neoclassical ballet and contemporary dance. Over the course of the performance, McNeill and Owen visibly became more comfortable with the vocabulary of movement, letting go of some of the residual tension of classical ballet they carried in their torso and beginning to feel and use the weight of their members more productively.
“Roam” ended as it started, with Van Buskirk performing alone on stage, suggesting how one individual can contain multitudes. The finale also highlighted how Lee’s beautifully modulated recitation of poetic snippets throughout “Roam” functioned as a brilliant glimpse into the creative process. The spoken word layer, successful because it was subtle and additive rather than dramatic and redundant, integrated the ballet into the cultural context that inspired and responds to it. With “Roam”, the new season of Terminus already builds on past successes and has a very promising start.
1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Oct 23, 24 and 30; 5 p.m. October 29; and 1 p.m. on October 31. $ 15 to $ 50. Wildflower meadow at Serenbe, 10690 Hutcheson’s Ferry Road Chattahoochee Hills. terminusmbt.com.
Working closely with the American Press Institute, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is embarking on an experiment to identify, nurture and expand a network of press partnerships in Metro Atlanta and the state.
Our new partner, ArtsATL (www.artsatl.org), is a non-profit organization that plays a vital role in educating and informing the public about the arts and culture of the Metro Atlanta area. Founded in 2009, ArtsATL’s goal is to help build a sustainable arts community contributing to the economic and cultural health of the city.
Over the next few weeks we will be featuring other partners and we would love to hear from you.
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