It is not a traditional "Romeo and Juliet" ballet that Northern Californians will see during the upcoming Valentine weekend. Instead they will get a fresh look at love, a vision Ma Cong demonstrates with his brilliant, expressive choreography.
The much-sought-after, passionate choreographer embraces love with music and dance in his latest work to be introduced in a World Premiere Feb. 13-16 at the Sacramento Ballet's February Wild Sweet Love event.Tuesday, Cong arrived in Sacramento for the first time. I met him yesterday in the studio prior to his first rehearsal with the Sacramento Ballet's talented dancers.Cong told me he loved music and movement from a young age and began training at the Bejing Dance Academy at age 10; he trained for seven years and upon his graduation he said that he was invited to join the National Ballet of China. “It was shocking to me for someone trained in Chinese folk dance to change to classical ballet. That would be quite a challenge, but I thought to learn one more form of art, I would gain more experience,” he said.He came to America in 1999 and joined the Tulsa Ballet. Last year he retired as a dancer, but his artistic abilities as a choreographer were already well known by many companies. “I started choreographing in 2003,” Cong said.In 2006, Cong was listed in Dance magazine in the “25 to watch,” an annual look at who is new and breaking through in dance and choreography.His passion was not hidden as he revealed his vision to the troupe that he would be working with over the next few weeks; it was immediately absorbed by the dancers who were still perspiring from their early morning workout routine. His enthusiasm was contagious and spread like a California wildfire.Cong articulated his vision verbally and by demonstrating, and I watched the genesis of his new creation take place in Studio I as the Sacramento Ballet's dancers, each gifted and accomplished, began to shape under Cong's guidance.He told me his new piece is “a very, very physical and intense and at the same time, a lot of emotional moment,” and is “based on the classical ballet technique but interpreted in a very contemporary way.”I can tell you, it is all that and much more.Three evening performances Feb. 13-15 and a matinee on Feb. 16 of the Sacramento Ballet dancing Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love , Edwaard Liang’s Wunderland, and Ma Cong's World Premiere will be held at the Sacramento Community Center Theater.Tickets can be purchased on-line, at the Sacramento Ballet Box Office, or at the Community Center Box Office.
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