The Palm: BalletCollective, 8/7-13

The Palm: BalletCollective, 8/7-13

Palm Arts Dance is once again sponsoring BalletCollective’s residency in Telluride. The company uses its time in town to develop new works to be publicly performed Saturday, August 13, Palm Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the Palm Theatre website here.

Other events during the residency include unique community collaboration, “Patterns in Movement,” an artistic event in the Mountain Village,Wednesday, August 10, 5 p.m. To participate, no movement or dance experience is necessary. (Scroll down for further details.)

Enjoy an open rehearsal at the Palm on Thursday, August 11, 3 p.m., and a Master Class, again at the Palm, on Friday, August 12, 9:30 a.m.



Under the direction of Troy Schumacher, BalletCollective is a talented group of seven dancers from the New York City Ballet who have returned to Telluride to develop and rehearse new works during the second week in August.

Now in its third year, the residency allows the company to refine several pieces in its repertoire and create new choreography. The week will also feature a master class, open showcases, a local meet-and- greet, along with a community art event.

The residency culminates in a public performance, accompanied by live music provided by a Telluride Chamber Music ensemble, on Saturday, August 13, 7:30 p.m.

Last year’s new works, “Invisible Divide” and “The Last Time This Ended,” went on from Telluride to world premieres in New York. The ballets were described by Alistair Macauley, chief dance critic of the New York Times, as “arresting, fresh, exploratory.”

At the heart of BalletCollective lies process.

Founded by Schumacher in 2010, BalletCollective brings together artist from different genres –poets, composers, choreographers, and designers –  to collaborate as equals in the creation of distinctive and unique works of art. Everyone is encouraged to think outside the box: a composer considers visual art, a choreographer the structure of a poem, a photographer the rhythm of a piece of music. The joint effort is combined and refined and ultimately presented to audiences.

The pieces the collective winds up embracing tend to be intimate, dynamic, and reflective, but they are also always accessible and tailor-made to suit the talents of this highly accomplished group of  young dancers. What’s more, the creative life of each work does not end with its first performance, but continues to be refined over its life.

In 2014, poetry informed original musical compositions and choreography.

In 2015, the starting point was photography.

This year, two architects have proven critical to the process.

The first piece, with Schumacher and composer Ellis Ludwig Leone working together for the sixth time, is inspired by a series of sketches and renderings by James Ramsey, creator of the Lowline, a new underground park and cultural center to be built underneath the Lower East Side of Manhattan, scheduled to open in 2020.

The second ballet, with Schumacher and composer Judd Greenstein teaming up, will focus on architect Carlos Arnaiz, the founder of CAZA. It will explore a specific moment in time – a signature play by basketball legend Allen Iverson – as viewed through an architect’s eyes.

Besides working on these exciting original ballets, BalletCollective will be interacting with the Telluride community to develop “Patterns in Movement,” Wednesday, August 10, 5- 6 p.m. in the Madeline Plaza of the Mountain Village.

Schumacher describes the “Patterns in Motion” as a chance for creative collaboration between company dancers and community members.

“We’re very excited to work with Telluride people in producing something totally unique in this very unique place,” he said.

Schumacher explains that participants will be divided into groups and taught series of motions and patterns by BalletCollective’s dancers. Everyone will then perform their series simultaneously. Viewed from above, unexpected patterns and motion should be revealed.

A video will capture the work and will be posted online as a Telluride community art event.

“This community event will be an extraordinary opportunity for the local community to create a unique piece of art with some of the best dancers in the world,” said Kate Jones, executive director, Telluride Art District. “The work BalletCollective is doing in Telluride is very fresh, innovative and of tremendous quality.”



To watch the group in action, go here and view BalletCollective’s hip new trailer.

About Troy Schumacher, director and resident choreographer, BalletCollective:

Troy Schumacher formed BalletCollective as a 21st-century model inspired by historic ballet, music, and visual art collaborative efforts.

Troy Schumacher

Troy Schumacher

In addition to founding and directing BalletCollaborative, Schumacher has received choreographic commissions from the 92nd Street Y Fridays at Noon series, School of American Ballet, New York Choreographic Institute, Salon/Sanctuary with Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Atlanta Ballet. Schumacher is active in other cultural media, and has participated in a number of cutting-edge collaborations including choreographing shoots for Carine Roitfeld’s CR Fashion Book, Aritzia and producing a performance for Creative Agency V Group’s Zero Zero Project.

As a dancer with the New York City Ballet, Schumacher has performed principal roles in several ballets, including George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stars and Stripes, Peter Martins’ Swan Lake, and Jerome Robbins’ Interplay.

A short history of a dance residency in Telluride:

In the halcyon days of the 1990s, instigated by former prima ballerina Valerie Madonia, a nonprofit known as the Telluride Society for the Performing Arts Dance signed a five-year contract with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Madonia’s alma mater, establishing a summer residency for the internationally acclaimed company.

Dancer from BalletCollective strikes a pose

Dancer from BalletCollective strikes a pose

The relationship worked like a beautifully choreographed pas de deux: the Joffrey got to reconstruct old favorites from its repertoire and create new works in an inspiring setting; locals and guests came to anticipate regular dance performances by a troupe known for its diversity, technical pizzazz, and irrepressible spirit.

At that time, a tent was erected in the Mountain Village each summer to host the Joffrey and soon, other performances by other top-tier professional dancers from the Washington Ballet, RhythMEK, MOMIX and more. The infrastructure and expense required to host the talent was extraordinary, but the commitment of Madonia and the group of dance lovers that gathered around her under the umbrella of Dance in Telluride bore fruit: even recalcitrant husbands and sport-addicted couch potatoes eventually succumbed to the technical panache and sensuous lines of dancers whose hands and feet seemed to articulate scripts of their own.

Years later, another residency and other highly anticipated performances, this time driven by Shirley Fortenberry or “Miss Shirley” to her students, a friend and professional colleague of Madonia and a former a dancer with the Australian Ballet and London City Ballet, who brought BalletCollective to town for the first time in 2014.

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