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Friday, May 7, 2021

NYC Ballet’s Jamie Trundle on “the whole experience of the evening”

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Some notes from the “Afternoon at Todai” dance concert at NYCB’s Joyce Theater.

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-Up this weekend in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall are New York City Ballet’s latest dance productions: “Syngman,” a close collaboration with choreographer Sean O’Callaghan; and “Sambadende,” two short-form, interactive dances by Nimrod Lawrence. The interactive experience links to pair videos from the works, as well as related interactive apps: “High End Cabaret,” which creates a “nightclub lounge” with mirrored walls; and “It Takes You,” which challenges audience members to identify hints of contemporary music and create video content together.

-There are the usual rows of seats in the sweetly decorated theater, and at the center of the room is New York City Ballet’s Jamie Trundle. “We’re really carefully manicuring and packaging who we’re inviting in for certain performances,” she says. “We’re looking at the whole experience of the evening — helping them make memories with their friends and creating a magical space that allows them to see that we are a very authentic arts organization.”

Nimrod Lawrence choreographed “Syngman” with New York City Ballet star Peta Denbo.

-“Dance moved into a new frontier in the 1980s and early ’90s, with the advent of films. Now, we have something like 40 live performances from all the big dance companies, whether it’s in different dimensions, in different sections of performance space, or employing technology,” Trundle says. “It’s a broader audience than you had a couple of years ago.”

Photo: Michael Cohen

-“Syngman” incorporates hundreds of filming of dancers — filmed from hundreds of angles, by hundreds of different cameras — to create an interactive experience. While on-camera performers may look like silent movie or choreographed performances, behind-the-scenes footage has allowed audiences to uncover the minds behind the “syngman.” “People often wonder, ‘Who’s doing this behind the scenes?’ And the answer is everywhere,” Trundle says.

-“Sambadende” is a short, three-part dance work with a game structure: it uses walking sticks, markers, pens, tiles, and markers to pass around, learn, and influence events onstage.

“Sambadende” is a short, three-part work designed around the guiding principle of making a “trip,” a moment that emanates from an unexpected, playful, physical gesture.

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