Two works by Emery LeCrone

Emery LeCrone is a promising young choreographer worth keeping tabs on. Two of her works were presented by different companies, at different venues, on the same night—a busy schedule which indicates how much attention her work is getting.

New Chamber Ballet, where she is choreographer-in-residence, presented her Five Songs for Piano, set to Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. LeCrone makes frequent use of a line of dancers, playing off one soloist against the rest. One such section for dancer Victoria North showed off her rich port de bras and her ability to capture the restlessness in the music. Originality abounds in LeCrone’s work: a duet of arcing arms resolves to a down-pointing allongé position; North returns, turning a backward trudge into something beautifully musical before stopping to arrange and re-arrange her body in and out of parallel and turned out positions. Dancer Lauren O’Toole was also a stand-out, plunging into her solo to a particularly unbridled section in the music; then there was that long sweeping diagonal of all the dancers which broke out into a finely-detailed canon.

This was all very classical when compared to her Palindrome, presented at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. This cyberpunk quartet is set to a gritty, contemporary score and features strong, athletic partnering and urgent limbs shearing through space. There’s a tough feel to their movements, like they’re in combat against something, but LeCrone laces this with a lot of qualitative changes which capture our interest. The pace of the dancing stays high, even through the slack sections in the music; when the heavier beat and instrumentation return, the group energy intensifies even more. The conclusion of the piece is like nothing of what’s come before, so it’s a bit of a jolt, but the inter-wrestling figures pose an intriguing idea and hopefully this is just part one of what will be a longer work so we can see this new theme fleshed out to its fullest.

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