The Barak Ballet, founded by Los Angeles native Melissa Barak, returned to the Broad Stage for their fourth time and presented two world premier pieces, Cypher and Desert Transport, and a reprise of last year’s well received E/SPACE.
Cypher: photo credit Cheryl Mann; Dancers Xuan Cheng, Lauren Fadeley, Brian Simcoe, and Zachary Guthie

Each of the works exemplified the creative collaborative partnerships that synthesized the dancers’ athletic pas de deuxs and syncopated group movements, the choreographers’ blending of classical and modern visions, and composers’ evocative and emotive scores.

Cypher was choreographed by Barak to the metronomic music of Molly Joyce’s score. Taking the work’s title as its focus, the piece presented a series of scenes of cyclical movements and sense of free-styling that had the dancers Interrupting one another while avoiding to break a cycle unless one is next in line and dancer behind is falling off and giving a overall impression in which actions flow rather feel that they are being instrumented.

Desert Transport, choreographed by Nicolas Blanc, was inspired by the visceral and dramatic urgency of music by Mason Bates. The symphonic score is punctuated by the sounds of Native American rattles and the rhythmic sound of helicopter blades to evoke the experience of flying over the Sedona desert.
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Desert Transport: photo credit Cheryl Mann; Dancers Sadie Black, Stephanie Kim, Julia Erickson, and Hannah Wilcox

E/SPACE, choreographed by Barak with music by David Lawrence added a visually immersing dimension through the large screen projected media design by Rafik Anadol that placed the dancers in changing alternative realities of geometric and amorphous spaces.

In a post-performance “Spotlight Q&A” facilitated by ballet instructor Sophie Monat, the choreographers, composer David Lawrence and two of the company’s dancers, spoke of the collaborative efforts that go into the developing the works, especially the meticulous “cleaning of movements” whereby the dancers unify breathing together as the music enters in their muscle memory. For additional info on this talented dance company and crew, visit the website at