When I heard that dancers from Nevada Ballet Theatre would be performing on a 4-by-8-foot slab at Crystals I was ecstatic. I’ve seen this before. And I’ll confess that this is how I like dance best—in small, intimate performances, out of context with the surroundings. For that, a high-end, cavernous shopping mall on the Strip will do.
The Thursday-evening audience is a predictable mix of Strip Vegas: NASCAR fans, upscale shoppers attending a private party at Dolce & Gabbana and families on cell phones ambling through the Daniel Libeskind building lined with extravagant stores.
By this point the ballet is well into its group number, a flash mob of sorts, resembling a smooth ’50s-era dance party in slow motion. The laid-back jazzy piece, choreographed by artistic director James Canfield, began with two performers and swells, incrementally, to more than 20, including bystanders.
We’ve already been treated to a suite of classical and contemporary solos and duets on the portable floor, each designed to highlight the company’s talent, styles and costumes. And, well, we’re impressed.
The floor? Pressed board and neoprene with a type of linoleum, specific to dance, a swatch from the larger dancefloor on which the company will perform at the Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall.
These pop-up gigs began a while ago in the Arts District, most notably one night in the Brett Wesley Gallery parking lot at a reception for a Nevada Ballet photo exhibit. The plan is to take the 4-by-8 performances (named for the restricted size of the dancefloor used for duets and solo numbers) into the community, offering an organic and surprising presentation of contemporary ballet to those least expecting it as they move about their day. Tonight, Crystals; tomorrow, the world. Problem is, you can’t plan for it. Canfield wants the 4-by-8 performances to be organic, unannounced—not a destination, but something happened upon.
And accessible. The group dance was designed to be repetitive and easy to pick up in a short time.
Those who want to learn the lovely number can soon follow the footsteps—literally. They will be posted piecemeal on Nevada Ballet’s website.
But if you’d rather be in the audience for an intimate performance, there’s always One Step Closer: The Studio Series in the Smith’s Troesh Theater in April. Or, for a more formal evening, the May Gala and Performance in the 2,050-seat Reynolds.
Otherwise, cross your fingers, in hopes they’ll magically appear before you in a shopping mall, sidewalk corridor or neighborhood park.