As a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Ashley Bouder knows that despite George Balanchine's famous saying "Ballet is woman", it is in fact an industry ruled by men. Bouder has since founded The Ashley Bouder Project, a platform dedicated to showcasing choreography created solely by women.
Last month, The Ashley Bouder Project debuted at the esteemed Symphony Space in NYC, and unveiled a collection of works, with music accompaniment by the New York Jazzharmonic. The 17 piece orchestra was lead by Bouder's co-producer, Ron Wasserman.
The theme of the night was fittingly "At this dance, women take the lead". The show kicked off with "In Pursuit Of", a brand new piece choreographed by Ms. Bouder herself, set to music by NY Jazzharmonic's associate director, Miho Hazara. It was performed by six NYCB dancers whose uplifting fluidity soared across the stage. It's cheerful movement and classic partnering styles put the audience in a genuine, feel good type of mood.
Perhaps the most captivating piece of the night was "Duet", the pas de deux performed by Bouder and fellow company member Sara Mearns. The two women, a pairing almost unheard of in ballet, performed choreography by Liz Gerring to music by Anna Weber. "Duet" was a moving picture of masterful purpose and intensity, with rough and tough music to match. As ballerinas, both dancers admitted venturing into modern dance was stepping vastly outside of their comfort zone, yet both women demonstrated flawless technique and the ability to conquer a new genre of dance.
The night closed with a glorious revival of Susan Stroman's "Blossom Got Kissed" set to music by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhdorn. The jazz infused number starred Ms. Bouder as an off beat, quirky dancer named Rose, who just can't seem to get the steps right, that is until she gets kissed. It's a lively piece with intricate formations and precise timing. Overall, a sincerely fun one to watch and you can't help but root for Rose.
|Ashley Bouder and Co- Producer Ron Wasserman|
The evening marked a positive step forward for the future of women in ballet, and hopefully more will follow. For an industry so fastened on the grace and delicacy of a woman, it is only logical to celebrate her in every facet.
Photos by Diana Mino, provided by PR