The classical style of ballet you’ve come to know and love is getting experimental this weekend.
Barak Ballet’s ‘OFF Balance’ heads to the Edye this weekend, an experimental mixed-media dance show looking to upend expectations of what ballet can be. The dance event will consist of two works, one from SFDanceWorks’ Danielle Rowe and one from Barak Ballet’s Melissa Barak.0
Barak, an LA-native raised in Santa Monica who trained under Westside Ballet Yvonne Mounsey, says her portion of the show will explore new artistic territory by converging various mediums to tell a story.
“It’s digital art meets dance,” she said. “We were thinking about human nature, the start of time, playing with ideas of our relationship with the environment … Before tech, we were at mercy of our environment and now we’re in control. Then I took it to a place where we’ve become disconnected and started playing with all these themes that touch on that.”
To capture these themes through ballet, Barak enlisted the help of composer David Lawrence, violinist Heather Powell, multi-media artist Alisa Lapidus and Narduli Studio, who work in the intersection of art, architecture and public space.
Lawrence created a sound which is something akin to Hans Zimmer meets NIN with Powell, adding a sense of unease and curiosity, while Lapidus and Narduli provide a “more modern” graphic design element via projections.
Stephanie Kim, a Barak ballet dancer, will be swaying, dancing and contorting among the unique mesh of sights and sounds.
Though Kim was trained classically in ballet, she found solace in Barak’s company due to Barak’s willingness to let her artists freely express themselves.
“I’m pushed artistically and technically here,” Kim said. “To have the level of caliber of what she expects is rare. Her style is more prominent on the East Coast, not here. She gives us the chance to explore our artistry, to explore ballet in new ways.”
When it comes to describing what the show will be when put together, Kim plays somewhat coy. Or is it just a you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it kind of deal?
“Audiences are going to experience going into another realm,” Kim says with a slight laugh. “lt’s us pushing the envelope more than what an audience is used to creatively. It’ll be small, immersive and emotional.”
Small, immersive and emotional— bringing together several threads to create something unique. Just as Barak wanted with her crew.
“I certainly believe in the power of a company, in its individuals,” Barak said. “Barak LA isn’t cookie cutter and we never will be … we’re cohesive yet different.”
OFF Balance takes place March 16th and 17th at The Edye Theater, 1310 11th St. Tickets are currently for sale at barakballet.org. All tickets are $45 and general admission. The performance includes one 20 minute intermission.