The Ovation Series “A Chance to Dance” Episode Four

Trevitt and Nunn Continue to Build Their Company at Jacob’s Pillow

The bucolic idyll at historic Jacob’s Pillow continues for some but this episode also saw the departure of five dancers and the dimming of hopes for two others, including Shepard the hip hop dancer, who continues to struggle to find a place for himself among a crew of trained ballet and contemporary dancers. One of the side dramas focuses on Eldon and his partner Chase, who does not survive the first round of the boot camp cuts.  A Chance to Dance continues to elevate the dance reality show genre with its smart focus on an actual goal, in this case a performance of a new work to be premiered at the Dizzy Feet Foundation Gala in New York–sixteen days and counting. Add to that the savvy, steadying influence of two real ballet and choreographic stars in Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt. They show themselves to be tough, but also thought provoking and even handed in their treatment of the dancers. In one of the interviews Sarah gets a reprieve when Billy challenges Michael’s intention to cut her. We get a glimpse of the working relationship between Trevitt and Nunn. Nunn jokingly refers to him as “young Billy” on occasion. While their relationship may be hierarchical it doesn’t interfere with an easy back and forth and some good humor as well. Episode Four is structured around pairs of dancers working on what is going to become the featured duet of the piece. While Nunn and Trevitt are busy overseeing the partnering, assistant choreographer, Allison Holker, coaches four trios of women in a contact improvisation that will also be incorporated into the finished work. The least effective part of this episode was the unnecessary focus on the overly tearful Laura, whose insecurities come across as annoying rather than deserving sympathy. I’m still pulling for Nunn and Trevitt to find a way to include Shepard in their opus. This time out, it’s his partner, Chelsea, who shows “great strength of character” in making him look good in the partnering. The pairing made a poignant statement about the essence of cooperation in the dance world, where outcomes are not always so altruistic. A Chance to Dance is a seven-part series airing on Ovation every Friday at 10pm from August 17 though September 28.

 

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