When we met up with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet "new kids" Ida Saki, Billy Bell and Navarra Novy-Williams for our February cover shoot, the company was in a state of limbo. Artistic director Benoit-Swan Pouffer had resigned in May 2013, and both the dancers and long-time ballet master and rehearsal director Alexandra Damiani were anxiously awaiting the announcement of his replacement.
Yesterday, nearly a year after Pouffer's resignation, the company finally made the big announcement: Alexandra Damiani is the new artistic director of Cedar Lake! A long-time soloist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Damiani has worked with the company since 2005, and she served as interim artistic director over the course of the last year.
But that's not Cedar Lake's only big announcement; they also named Canadian choreographer Cyrstal Pite as associate choreographer, a new position for the company. Pite has already set two works on Cedar Lake: Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue in 2007 and Grace Engine in 2012. As associate choreographer, she will contribute a minimum of two new works over the next three years.
Want a chance to see the "New Cedar Lake"? They're celebrating their 10th anniversary with a debut season at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from June 11–14. The company will perform Pite's Grace Engine, among other works by various choreographers. Click here to get your tickets.
And in the meantime, watch this excerpt of Grace Engine to whet your appetite. Enjoy!
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performs Grace Engine at the Joyce Theater in NYC (Photo Andrea Mohin/The New York Times)
Back in October 2009, you met the lovely Ida Saki, who won our Cover Model Search contest thanks to her beautiful technique and irresistible smile. Though she was just 17 at the time, we already knew Ida was going to make it big. Not only was she a talented dancer, she also impressed us with her combination of ferocious drive and sunny optimism.
And we were right: Since appearing on our cover, Ida has been named YoungArts winner in modern dance, made it to Vegas week on "So You Think You Can Dance" and enrolled at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Sound like enough to keep anyone busy? There's more: Ida recently joined the prestigious Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. (She's continuing her studies at NYU while dancing with the company.)
I was able to see Ida perform with Cedar Lake this week, tearing up the stage in Crystal Pite's high-octane Grace Engine. She looked right at home with the rest of the company's gorgeous dancers. Our CMS star, all grown up! Congratulations, Ida—and merde!