Chautauqua’s first dance performance of the 2023 season will welcome visiting company BalletX to the Institution. The Philadelphia-based dance group pride themselves on contemporary, inclusive and innovative dance experiences, and they’re slated to take the stage at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.
“Chautauqua’s historical. It’s legendary. So, it’s such an honor to bring my company up there and share in the arts with a passionate community who appreciates and values the impact of the arts,” said Christine Cox, BalletX’s co-founder and artistic and executive director.
“We’re really excited about this adventure and bringing this beautiful company of dancers who are actually from all over the world — America, Philippines, Canada.
I think our similarities are significant. At the heart of our similarities is our passion for community and the arts and what the arts can do for our hearts and our minds — and, particularly, our soul.”
This evening is BalletX’s Chautauqua debut, and Laura Savia is excited to introduce the contemporary ballet company to the community.
“I have been hearing from many Chautauquans who live in Philadelphia, as well as from my colleagues in the dance world, that BalletX is the not-to-be-missed company on the scene right now,” said Savia, vice president of performing and visual arts.
Cox co-founded the company with Matthew Neenan in 2005 as a way to continue dancing and creating throughout the summer, and it eventually evolved into the company that it is now.
Cox attributes the importance of BalletX to the role that it plays in allowing freedom for artists and giving creatives ample space to experiment and create. She emphasizes the value of allowing artists to visualize their work through the dancers and other aspects of BalletX in order to realize and advance ballet as a medium.
“We’re creating opportunities for artists to continue dreaming, to feel safe experimenting with their own voice, but using the beautiful artists and dancers of the company to visualize that work with them and create something that’s never been done before,” she said.
The day begins with “Morning Stretch with BalletX” at 10:15 a.m. on Bestor Plaza, and the Chautauqua Dance Circle is hosting a pre-performance lecture starting at 7 p.m. tonight in Smith Wilkes Hall. When BalletX takes the Amp stage after, Savia said that “Chautauqua can expect to see a joyful, energetic performance. The company members of BalletX dance with abandon.”
Cox hopes to take the audience on a journey throughout the performance. She finds that BalletX’s work “resonates with the soul,” and even finds herself being taken back into her own memories as she’s watching a performance.
“I think the audience will be awed by the physicality of the dancers, the commitment of the dancers, and the beautiful approach that they have to these vastly different works,” she said.
More than awe, Cox hopes viewers experience a sense of joy tonight, and a sense of “love and connection, a sense of gratitude for life.”
“These moments in time and art can bring people together, so I hope that they’re sitting with someone that they love and that watching the beautiful dancers of BalletX sparks this chemistry of love in the air and we can bring joy and positive energy into Chautauqua,” Cox said.