In advance of its 2017 residency of the New York City Ballet (July 5 – 15), Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be releasing a series of unique, locally-shot dance videos created by videographers and NYCB dancers, Emily Kikta and Peter Walker. The eight videos feature NYCB dancers performing short pieces at iconic locations in Saratoga Springs and Troy, including the Gasholder Building, Yaddo, the Race Track, Congress Park, Saratoga Lake and the Saratoga Train Station. The videos will be released on SPAC’s website and social media channels daily from June 26 – July 3 at spac.org.
“Dance is one of the purest and most powerful forms of artistic expression. Connecting the art form with natural environments and apart from the formality of the stage, places it in a fresh, interesting and more approachable context,” said Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “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.”
“Reimagining the way we conceive, present and experience music and dance is necessary if we are to keep these art forms alive and thriving for a new generation. These videos are one of several initiatives we’ve undertaken this season to advance that goal,” said Ms. Sobol. “They powerfully and beautifully convey the dancer’s physical and expressive capacity through movement, heightening anticipation as we prepare to raise the curtain on a spectacular New York City Ballet season.”
“We are very excited to share our approach to capturing dance on camera and highlighting how Saratoga inspired our work. We feel lucky to have received this opportunity from SPAC that allowed us to create and explore all over the region. We hope these videos convey the special connection and rich history New York City Ballet shares with SPAC,” said Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, co-choreographers and directors of the video project.
Emily Kikta has been a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet since 2011. A native of Pittsburgh, Kikta began making site-specific dance videos while studying film at Fordham University, in collaboration with Peter Walker and other dancers. Project locations have included an empty apartment (W 75th), rooftops and in nature (Watch Me Dance). The videos have been the subject of media coverage and dance magazine profiles. Peter Walker, originally from Fort Myers, Florida, has been a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet since 2012. He is also a choreographer who recently created his first work for NYCB, ten in seven, which garnered favorable reviews. The company’s 2018 Winter Season will also feature a world premiere by Walker. For the SPAC series, Peter and Emily both choreographed, each creating four of the eight pieces. They co-directed the project as well as danced in several of the videos.
New York City Ballet dancers featured in the videos include Devin Alberda, Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara, Mimi Staker, Sebastian Villarini-Velez, Sarah Villwock, Giovanni Villalobos.
“Dance, as portrayed in these videos, is dynamic, joyous and in harmony with its surroundings. We hope that viewers are inspired by what they see and motivated to explore dance further as participants or audiences,” concluded Ms. Sobol.
The dance videos can be viewed at spac.org, and on SPAC’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Watch the first video below!