The Perfect Blend of Imperfection: Chamber Ballet Brockport
(Photo: CBB company members, Maleda Funk and Konrad Morawski. Photo by Matthew Yeoman, The College at Brockport)
By Sara Palmisano
One of the most gratifying experiences that dance offers an artist is an unlimited number of experiences. One dance, with set movements to a particular piece of music presented on the same stage, does not exist as a perfect replication of itself despite the attempts to do so. This makes dance paradoxical: practicing choreography until it becomes one with the dancer’s body while knowing a dance never exists more than once. Each day, dancers grapple with the struggle of finding perfection within an imperfect world. Enticed by the hope of achieving perfection, dancers tirelessly rehearse long hours for the sake of achieving the impossible. Each day, each experience, gives dancers the opportunity to attempt to obtain this throughout their careers. These experiences culminate a dancer’s artistic voice, and the voice of a dynamic group. One such group lives, here, in Brockport: Chamber Ballet Brockport (CBB).
Still relatively new, Chamber Ballet Brockport, curated by faculty member Vanessa Van Wormer, offers students a unique opportunity to explore contemporary ballet beyond the typical class structure. These students do not just learn dances for the sake of performance; they become an intricate part of the process. These young artists face the wonderful challenge of collaborating with musicians from the Eastman School of Music, through the leadership of Hilary Glen, and guest artists, such as Phaedra Jarrett and Brad Parquette. The potential for greatness drives these individuals—Van Wormer, Glen, Jarrett, Parquette, and the students—to unite in order to produce powerful works of art that captivate their audiences. Chamber Ballet Brockport embraces the endless possibilities that commence when multiple people of various talents decide to facilitate a night of music and dance. Yet, the true beauty does not lie just within the boundaries of the performance, it also exists in the process that ends in the performance.
Chamber Ballet Brockport performs high caliber dances, but the group dynamic itself sets these students and their mentor apart. Perfection has managed to become part of the language surrounding ballet. Yet, these dancers know that perfection of one cannot support the group. Therefore, these students have created a sanctuary for their artistry amongst themselves. While rehearsing, these young artists continuously communicate in order to help guide one another through choreography and musical cues. They trust one another in order to produce the seamless pieces that the audience eventually witnesses. All the while, the hardships of their tasks do not deter this group from finding moments of laughter and ease throughout the rehearsal process. Even as they enter the time period of last minute rehearsals and tech nights before they appear on stage this coming weekend, this group supports each other without hindrance.
As a spectator, one can observe a sense of intimacy that comes with the time these dancers spend trying to attain the seamless bonding of music and movement they work with. Chamber Ballet Brockport expands beyond learning movements and dances prescribed to contemporary ballet. Although they seek perfection, this group recognizes the beauty of letting themselves exist within the moment with music. We may never experience or see the same dance twice, but we experience the same emotions time and time again. Dance, and music, has the means to evoke memories and emotions from our lives we had long since forgotten. Because of this, Chamber Ballet Brockport teaches its audience the beauty of this craft happens in the now.
As soon as a movement is executed, it has passed by the time we register its happening. In order to fully welcome all that dance offers us, we let go of the idea of perfection momentarily. We exist in the beautiful perfection of the imperfections that the dance offers. However, these “imperfections” do not actually exist. One could argue, that every dance in every performance exists perfectly within its own right. The only fact that deters a dance from perfection is the mindset of the individual. During the Chamber Ballet Brockport Premiere, the audience will see how losing oneself in a dance is the perfect dance during any performance. Perfection will always exist and never exist within the framework of a dance and music. We simply have to have to decide what to see in the dance.
The Chamber Ballet concert takes place Friday, April 24 through Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 7:30 pm. The performances are in the Rose L. Strasser Studio in Hartwell Hall, Kenyon Street, on the Brockport campus. Tickets are $5, and are available at the door. Proceeds benefit future programming and community outreach by Chamber Ballet Brockport.
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