The Impulse Wants Company: A new work in poetry, music, and dance

New York City Ballet’s Troy Schumacher founded BalletCollective in 2010 to stage collaborative works of art incorporating dance, music, literature, and visual art in an intimate setting with live musical performance.  Little Star Weekly this week features BalletCollective’s most recent work, “The Impulse Wants Company,” with a libretto by Cynthia Zarin, score by Ellis Ludwig-Leone, and choreography by Mr. Schumacher. Text, music, and choreography were composed collaboratively and evolve in performance. Read the poem and listen to the score in our weekly app.

Poet Cynthia Zarin, whose poems have appeared in our print issues and one of whose memoir-essays was serialized in the very first issues of the weekly, was commissioned by Ballet Collective to write a poem with a view expressly to its manifestation in dance: the performance does not literary represent the characters or narrative of the poem, but responds to the text as it might to music.

“The Impulse Wants Company” will appear at the Joyce Theater’s Ballet 6.0 Festival on August 15 and 16. Buy tickets here

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Photographs by Christopher Starbody

Cynthia Zarin is the author of, most recently, An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History and The Ada Poems.

Choreographer Troy Schumacher has been a dancer with New York City Ballet since 2005. He has created original works for the Atlanta Ballet’s trainee program, the 92nd Street Y Fridays at Noon series, and as a resident for The New York Choreographic Institute and the School of American Ballet.

Composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone has written for a wide variety of ensembles and soloists including The Declassified, JACK Quartet, Fifth House Ensemble, and Lavinia Meijer. He is the songwriter and bandleader for Brooklyn-based band San Fermin, whose self-titled debut LP will be released by Downtown Records this September.

Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily the work of American composers.  ACME has performed at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Carnegie Hall, All Tomorrow’s Parties in England, The Kitchen, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, and Stanford Lively Arts in California, among others.


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