Lauren Lovette and Jamar Roberts pivot from dance to choreography

When star dancers retire, it’s always a bit sad. And while these dancers are still in their prime, fans may experience a particularly a...


When star dancers retire, it’s always a bit sad. And while these dancers are still in their prime, fans may experience a particularly acute sense of loss. The performances that won’t happen are easy to imagine.

But in the rare event that the dancer has already distinguished himself as a choreographer and retires to focus on this profession, the loss is offset by a potential gain. The dancer will be absent from the stage, but the spirit and the sensitivity of the dancer could spread there.

This fall, the unusual happens twice. October 9, Lauren Lovette retires of the New York City Ballet. December 9 Jamar roberts gives his farewell performance with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Both are beloved dancers, unostentatious stars in companies that are constellations of stars. Both are choreographers whose artistic voices have already made the difference.

Lovette has been a radiant presence at City Ballet since the moment she joined the Corps in 2010. Within months, she was already attracts attention in the main roles. Beneath a softness and a glow, you could feel a shadow and an inner life that could ripen over time. That’s what happened.

And in 2017, a year after being promoted to Principal, she revealed other partly hidden gifts: those of a dance maker. As a student, she had shown choreographic talent, but while focusing on performance, she had left this skill underdeveloped. Now he has blossomed.

The three works she has produced for the City Ballet are gaining in ambition and confidence. Like his character on stage, they have more depth and nuance than the surface might let you imagine. Specifically, his disregard for gender norms – men in a relationship with men, women in a relationship with women – has the beautiful simplicity of a fait accompli.

But breaking with conventions always takes courage, as it does for Lovette, 29, to go out on her own. His spirit is already spreading. The American Ballet Theater performed its “La Follia Variations” on its 2021 summer cross-country tour and has this work scheduled for its fall season in New York City.

Roberts’ choreographic gift was hidden longer. He joined the Ailey Company in 2002. That he left twice – and returned – suggests a restlessness, though what he showed on stage was mainly the quiet strength of a tall and graceful man and intelligence. subtle interpretative.

The first work he produced for the Ailey company, in 2017, came as a surprise. There were signs of daring here and a rare ability to approach complex and powerful emotions not directly (a recipe for silliness) but through an idiosyncratic rhythmic and physical sensibility.

After becoming the first resident choreographer of the Ailey troupe, in 2019, these signs has become unmistakable. And, surprisingly, during the pandemic, his artistic stature has grown steadily. “cooperated, “ a short film he made on his iPad at the start of the pandemic, and a subsequent film, “Colored Me”, are expected to remain two of the most powerful dance works of the period.

The solo that Roberts did for the Fall for Dance 2020 festival may remind us of what we’ll be missing when he stops dancing. But Ailey’s season in which he retires as a performer also includes his new group piece “Holding Space”, and it’s a winner. His spirit also spreads over Lovette’s territory: his first work for the City Ballet debuted in February.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Lauren Lovette and Jamar Roberts pivot from dance to choreography
Lauren Lovette and Jamar Roberts pivot from dance to choreography
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