At City Ballet, Jamar Roberts and dancers find a common language

But in this part, he also makes full use of the vocabulary of ballet: arabesques, dances in which feet slam together in the air, pointy-toe models gliding across the stage. More specifically, he’s exploiting the qualities for which City Ballet is known: speed, musical acumen, execution acumen.

“It is very clear and precise, and in fact very technical,” says Phelan. “In a way, it’s very Balanchine.” She’s referring to George Balanchine, the choreographer who founded the New York City Ballet Theatre, sculpting it around his fleet, clear, non-sentimental style.

“I thought about Balanchine a lot,” said Roberts, who studied ballet growing up in Miami, at Southwood Middle School, an arts school, and at the New World School of the Arts, before rehearsing. focus more on modern and contemporary dance. A teacher at Southwood encouraged students to borrow VHS tapes, and Roberts was particularly intrigued by Balanchine’s ballet recordings. “I mean, right now, I can dance them all “Agon,” He said of Balanchine’s famous modernist, casual ballet, “that’s how I got obsessed.”

Although most of his dance at Ailey is modern dance, Roberts has also performed a number of professional ballets, briefly with Complexions Contemporary Ballet (where he danced in a production of William Forsythe), as well as in the works of Alonzo King and in Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma” while in Ailey. In 2016 he was one of the dancers selected to perform “Chroma” in London in a cast that included dancers from Ailey and the Royal Ballet.

When Roberts arrived to choreograph the City Ballet dancers, his familiarity with the company’s style helped create a common language and sense of recognition. But both Roberts and the dancers had to expand beyond what they knew. At City Ballet, Jamar Roberts and dancers find a common language

Fry Electronics Team

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