Friday, June 22, 2012


The Atlanta Ballet presented "WabiSabi" as part of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Cocktails in the Garden.  From the ballet website:

Created by Atlanta Ballet veteran company dancer John Welker in 2011, Wabi Sabi seeks to push the boundaries of ballet through the creation of new works by the next generation of choreographic talent.  Wabi Sabi allows Atlanta Ballet to embark on presenting new work that enhances the scope of the existing repertory, while offering new artistic challenges to its company members. Wabi Sabi takes its name from a Japanese worldview that finds beauty in the sincerity, simplicity, and integrity of the natural world.  As one of the newest dance initiatives in Atlanta, Wabi Sabi combines our city's own emerging choreographers with beautiful and engaging venues for amazing outdoor performances that bring art to the people. Wabi Sabi is sponsored by the Corps de Ballet.

I like being outdoors as much as the next guy, so that part I really enjoyed, save the damp lawn and bugs.  I won't review each piece, although I really liked "Mind Myself" choreographed by Tara Lee and "Whispers" choreographed by Peng-Yu Chen.  Here are a few random observations:
·        Being so close to the dancers takes away some of the mystique that what they do is effortless.  Close-up, it is apparent that they are working very hard.
·        Dancing on a lawn must be very difficult because of the potential for sliding and the lack of marks.  It's not pretty seeing dancers warm-up.  Better they should do it out of sight.
·        Dancers are not really as tall as they appear on stage.  Wearing brown pleated pants made the men seem short.  They should have worn jeans, at least for appearance.
·        It's not good to see dancers break character as they walk off the dance floor. That's what the stage wings were designed for, and what you don't have in an outdoor area.
·        When dancers perform in a circle created by an audience, the audience can be an intrusive background. 
·        Seeing young children have fun at this kind of event is great.
·        Outdoors and cocktails help the ballet attract many younger and "hipper" patrons.
·        Too often it was apparent that the dancers were setting up  their next move.  Seeing them on stage tends to make this less visible.
·        It would be nice if the choreographers took into account the outdoor quality and the lack of a stage.  Some interaction with the audience would be nice, but I am not sure how that would be accomplished.

Jesse Tyler is a very, very talented dancer (he also has great hair) and he dances as if the moves were coming straight out of his soul.   His moves seem to be of his creation- not that of a choreographer.  His body "owns the moves."  He is a joy to watch.
Jesse Tyler

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