Klassic Contemporary Ballet Company’s “Return to Müvment” Brings a Return to Joy
by Lauren Putty White
Kimberly Landle’s Klassic Contemporary Ballet Company reminds me of what live dance looked and felt like pre-pandemic: sheer goodness. Through a live stream performance I can feel the fervor of the dancers at Cherry Street Pier. Costumes reflect neutral colors of tan, brown, and white. Shorts, flowing skirts, bare legs, and fluid bodies move in silence. Accompanied by piano, an operatic voice enters the space. Dancers fill the stage, presenting classical balletic lines and undulating torsos, inviting me into their realm through silent narrative. They explore circular shapes with their individual bodies, then wrap around each other and break away as they begin to seek something. Though I cannot see what it is, I want them to find it. Moments of stillness featuring intertwined bodies are captured in gorgeous tableaus, which is personally fulfilling as I reminisce about the feeling of human touch. Love is here, warmth is here, familiarity is here.
The second movement seamlessly transitions to the second company, huddled in a clump. They reach beyond their extremities as they shift collectively to open into a large circle. Soloists take turns in the middle while the others sit and watch in a ritualistic manner. The soundtrack echoes a feeling of being in an outerworld, with synthesized instrumentation that induces a meditative state. As the music becomes upbeat, the dancers contract their bodies, putting more of a punch in their light execution. The hinging of their pelvises followed by erect spines and high leg extensions display the clear counterpoint in this company’s contemporary ballet vocabulary. Seeing so many dancers crowd the stage at once is exhilarating, but also claustrophobic. It would be lovely to see smaller groupings of the cast frequent the stage.
When we arrive at the final section of the work, the movement quality turns monotone, stagnating my desire to have my senses awakened. Though the choreography is stunning and the dancers are aesthetically exquisite, the repetitive soft quality paired with organized chaos becomes predictable. Perhaps it’s the anti-climactic musical score, perhaps it’s exhaustion or lack of stamina. It would be more satisfying to see a multi-layered delivery. Regardless, KCBC survived the thrust of the pandemic year, and they managed to do it with grace and infectious passion.
KCBC: Return to Müvment, Klassic Contemporary Ballet Company, Cherry Street Pier, Fringe Festival, Sept. 12.
By Lauren Putty White
September 17, 2021