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Written by Lindsay Westley   
Published on Monday, 20 January 2014 02:15

January 20, 2014 - BalletX’s Chloe Felesina will be taking a one-day hiatus from her work preparing for the company’s upcoming Winter Series 2014 to perform a musical pas de deux with cellist Gabriel Cabezas. Presented by music nonprofit LiveConnections, the performance on February 2nd at World Cafe Live will feature both improvised and choreographed works danced to the live accompaniment of Cabezas’ cello.

The duo has been preparing the repertoire since August. The concert is part of LiveConnections’ ClassicAlive concert series, which aims to expand the boundaries of classical music. It will be held at noon at partner venue World Cafe Live in the casual and intimate Downstairs Live, where concertgoers may enjoy brunch or sip mimosas while enjoying this innovative performance. We took a look behind the scenes to ask Chloe what it’s like to work with a live musician, and how she feels about the sometimes-improvised program.

Chloe Felesina How did you and Gabriel Cabezas approach the music for the program?
I have choreographed to the Bach suites before, so I knew I wanted to start there. That music is so fun — it just tells you what to do and dictates your steps for you. Other than that, Gabe and I worked together to find pieces that he wanted to play and that I connected with.

Does your dancing change when you dance to a live musician?
Everything about it is thrilling. To be one-on one with a live musician is just incredible, because as dancers, we’re always trying to connect with the music — to truly expose the music. To have the source of the music be that close to you is incredible.  A lot of this program will be improvised. Since it’s a full-length program, I’ll have the time to find all of the creative avenues available to me up there.

Have you done much improv dance before?
Improv has always been a big part of any choreographic process I’ve been a part of. I’ve also danced in situations where two names are drawn out of a hat (a dancer and a musician), so you might be paired with a percussionist or a violinist and it’s up to you to improvise on that. That is a really, really wonderful experience.

How do you feel your movements have influenced the way Gabe plays?
The program now is different from what it was when it started. Gabe says that he has been influenced by watching me, and that he interprets the music differently now. That is the same for me.

Did you approach rehearsals in a different way?
I’ve learned a lot already. I found that it could be daunting for me at first to dance with a live musician, but once I started going I realized that when I relax, enjoy the music and think about how awesome the whole situation is, then the choreography comes out naturally.


[Read PART 2 of the interview with Gabriel Cabezas here.]

Complete concert details and tickets here.


[Chloe Felesina image: Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy of BalletX]


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