The first half of the current version still explores and contrasts this variety of perspectives: the somber, focused intensity of the opening movement with the full cast; the searching, almost plaintive longing of Van Buskirk’s pas de deux with frequent partner Christian Clark; the playful, clowning duet between Heath Gill and guest artist Bret Coppa, who was with Atlanta Ballet from 2017-21. After the intermission, though, the sections evolved from “conjoined” vignettes of different experiences — and different choreographic styles — into a sublime synthesis. The dancers’ movements expressed emotional contrasts and contradictions, holding joyful absorption in the present in careful tension with nostalgia for moments that have slipped away.
During the Sunday matinee, company newcomers Ashley Eleby and Jackie Nash gave outstanding performances. Particularly memorable was a pas de quatre in the first half where Nash and Eleby were joined by Terminus veterans Clark and Gill, “Roam’s” third co-choreographer. The two women both demonstrated flawless, fluid technique and magnetic stage presence, and each brought her own unique musicality to the movement. Nash’s pas de deux with spouse and partner Gill in the second half was also exquisite, showcasing Lee’s gift for innovating on the adagio form. It began with a movement sequence in which Nash slowly moved across the stage towards Gill, never rising, and staying almost entirely within the lower third of the visual plane between the floor and waist height.
The four protégés — Claire Lee, Summer McNeill, Anna Owen and Katelyn Sager — all did well with the challenging choreography, holding their own in sections where the full ensemble was onstage. Lee and Sager in particular already seemed well adapted to Terminus’s unique fusion of neoclassical ballet and contemporary dance. Over the course of the performance, McNeill and Owen visibly grew more comfortable with the movement vocabulary, letting go of some of the residual classical ballet tension they were carrying in the torso and beginning to feel and use the weight of their limbs more productively.
“Roam” ended as it began, with Van Buskirk performing alone on the stage, suggesting how one individual can contain multitudes. The finale also highlighted how Lee’s beautifully modulated recitation of poetic excerpts throughout “Roam” functioned as brilliant glimpses of the creative process. The spoken word layer, successful because it was subtle and additive rather than dramatic and redundant, embedded the ballet into the cultural context that inspired it and to which it responds. With “Roam,” Terminus’ new season already builds on past success and is off to a very promising start.
1 and 5 p.m. Oct. 23, 24 and 30; 5 p.m. Oct. 29; and 1 p.m. Oct. 31. $15-$50. Wildflower Meadow at Serenbe, 10690 Hutcheson’s Ferry Road Chattahoochee Hills. terminusmbt.com.
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