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SPAC, NYC Ballet partner on series of dance films

SPAC, NYC Ballet partner on series of dance films

Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the New York City Ballet are coming together again to present a series of short films that were shot in the Capital Region and choreographed by NYCB dancers Emily Kikita and Peter Walker.

SPAC will be releasing one video each day until July 17, which is the ballet’s opening night. The eight videos were performed and shot at archetypal locations around the region, such as SPAC, the Empire State Plaza, Proctor's Theater in Troy and the Shaker Heritage Society in Albany.

The collaboration was sparked last year by Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s president and CEO. Her idea was to get dancers off the stage and into unique environments.

“That was the goal behind asking Emily and Peter to lead this project. With the help of several of their talented New York City Ballet colleagues, they created videos that capture the beauty of dance, freed from traditional boundaries,” Sobol said of the initial project. 

"I hope people enjoy seeing a more creative take on these locations," Kikta said. 

The first video released this year was filmed at the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs. It flows between black and white and color, pointing to the history and the future of the place. Years ago, many of the dancers and George Balanchine frequented the hotel whenever the ballet headed up to SPAC. 

"It's always been a part of the New York City Ballet's history," Kikta said. She and Walker wanted to incorporate that classic prohibition-era style in the recently renovated hotel.  

While most of the videos focus on non-narrative choreography, the two shot at the Shaker Heritage Society have more of a loose narrative that plays out in two parts. Kikta warned that there will be a bit of a cliffhanger between parts one and two.

Besides Walker and Kikta, the videos feature dancers Devin Alberda, Daniel Applebaum, Eliza Blutt, India Bradley, Isabella LaFreniere and Kennard Henson.

The New York City Ballet opens at SPAC on July 17 with an all-Balanchine program, and Kikta hopes the videos will not only be a reminder of the ballet's history in the Capital Region but that the NYCB "is still very much a part of SPAC." 

Here's a look at the second video in the series, which was filmed at the Shaker Heritage Society:

SPAC will be releasing the videos on its website, along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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