The New Jersey Ballet Presents a trio of Dance Masterworks

The NJ Ballet. Courtesy
The NJ Ballet. Courtesy

NEW YORK – The New Jersey Ballet Presents a trio of Dance Masterworks

I will skip the traditional review guidelines and state right up front that you don’t know what you are missing if you don’t see at least one performance by the New Jersey Ballet. The troupe is that amazing.

Under the tutelage of Artistic Director Maria Kowroski, New Jersey Ballet never ceases to amaze me. Artistic Director Maria Kowroski guides the most talented ballerinas and danseurs, rewarding the audience with visual and physical delights during their outstanding ballet, modern dance, choreography, and music.

Scenes from the NJ Ballet Gallery. Courtesy

Scenes from the NJ Ballet Gallery. Courtesy

The evening program, performing for a full-house theater at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, opened with Kowroski on stage. She informed us she had worked with all three choreographers who shared their talents for this evening’s event at the New Jersey Ballet.

In the first piece, Murder Ballades, choreographed by Justin Peck, three women and three men, dressed in gym clothes and sneakers, danced and performed gymnastic-like moves to staccato piano music and orchestra. The program was energetic and explosive, exhausting the audience just watching the sensational company.

One part featured a warm and playful love duet. The 35-minute dance received resounding applause for its vibrant and high-spirited presentation.

After a brief intermission, a well-known ballet piece entertained us entitled Purcell Suite, music by Henry Purcell and choreographed by Harrison Ball. Purcell wrote extensively in the late 1600s, using an English Baroque style incorporating French and Italian elements.

Harrison Ball was a student at the elite School of American Ballet and a former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, and he showcased his remarkable skills in the beauty of each of the 9 acts performed. Before the performance, Ball interacted with several audience members, and I heard accolades for his expertise in dance as he transformed it onto the stage.

Famed American fashion designer Zac Posen designed long, spaghetti-strap gowns that fit each of the seven ballerina’s bodies like a glove and ebbed and flowed during each movement. Each gown hugged the dancer’s sleek and feminine frame to perfection. Posen was also in the audience, conversing with theatergoers and wearing a dark, Indiana Jones-style fedora.

Purcell Suite features staccato violins, harpsichords, and cellos with beautifully crafted melodies that stir the soul. The evening’s presentation featured a stunning front-lit dance in which the ballerina’s shadows dance upon the blackened backdrop. The entire dance was mesmerizing.

But nothing could prepare the crowd for the World Premier of Jewel Box, choreographed by American ballet dancer Lauren Lovette. Kevin Puts, a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer, crafted the score for Music Concerto for Orchestra. This dance celebrated the delicate twirling of the jewel box ballerina, and the music was a crescendo that builds to a pleasant toccata exchange in the percussion section. The music and dancing in this piece emulate the sights and sounds of intricate and delicate balance, like the jewel box ballerina and the working parts of the mechanism.

Some people assume ballet is passé, but New Jersey Ballet will change your opinion as soon as the final curtain drops and the audience’s roar acknowledges the talent on the stage and behind the scenes. Go and see the ballet!

Scenes from the NJ Ballet Gallery. Courtesy

Scenes from the NJ Ballet Gallery. Courtesy

The New Jersey Ballet Presents a trio of Dance Masterworks

Murder Ballades

Choreography by Justin Peck; Staged by Charlie Hodges; Costume design by Justin Peck; Original lighting design by Brandon Stirling Baker; Visual design by Sterling Ruby; Lighting by Lauren Libretti

Purcell Suite

Music by Henry Purcell; Choreography by Harrison Ball; Costume Design by Zac Posen; Original Lighting by Jesse Campbell; Lighting by Lauren Libretti, and

Jewel Box

In a world premiere choreographed by Lauren Lovette; Music Concerto for Orchestra by Kevin Puts; Design Consultant Libby Stadstad; Costumes by Lauren Lovette and Peggy Casey; Set Design by SHOWFAB; Lighting by Lauren Libretti. Press by AMT Public Relations.

New Jersey Ballet Company

Artistic Director Maria Kowroski; Assistant Director Paul H. McRae; Executive Director David Tamaki; Artistic Coordinator Kotoe Kojima-Noa; Production Manager Brian Coakley.

Emily Barrows, Louis Defelice, Vinicius Freire, Yuiko Honda, Akira Iida, Se Hyun Jin. Ilse Kapteyn, Raleigh Ledford, David Lopena, Risa Mochizuki, Denise Parungao, Jonathan Philbert, Abigail Robison, Brian Sevilla, Eunice Suba, Felipe Valentini, Joshuan Vazquez, Catherine Whiting, Lilli Etheredge, and Alexandra Limeburg.

Readers may also enjoy reading A Celebration of Dance by Ballet Hispánico at New York City Center, White Wave Dance Festival49 Years of Preserving Native American Culture Kaatsbaan Ballet Intensive, Wine Tasting Fundraiser,  Smashworks Social,  Thunderbird Dancers, and the Fall for Dance Festival.

The New Jersey Ballet Presents a trio of Dance Masterworks


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