Dancing on Wall Street

Sac Ballet premieres new work by Brian Reeder

Get ready for the crash! Brik Middlekauff and Stefan Calka work on “Market Crash,” a new piece by Brian Reeder.

Get ready for the crash! Brik Middlekauff and Stefan Calka work on “Market Crash,” a new piece by Brian Reeder.

Photo By Juan Ayora

Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

9399 Old Davis Rd.
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 754-2787


It’s finally starting to feel like spring, and a good time for dancing—or watching new dance. The Sacramento Ballet will premiere several new works this month, starting with a newly commissioned piece called “Market Crash” at the Mondavi Center. Several other original pieces will premiere at an informal Beer & Ballet showcase at Sac Ballet’s Midtown studios, where the audience will have ample opportunity to mingle with the dancers and discuss the new works at both events.

A champagne reception event will be held this Sunday, May 16, at 5 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theater at the Mondavi Center on the UC Davis campus. The program’s central piece is “Market Crash,” a new work by visiting New York choreographer Brian Reeder. Reeder created the timely titled dance with backing from a Jerome Robbins Foundation grant.

Ron Cunningham, co-artistic director of Sacramento Ballet, was particularly delighted to receive support from the foundation. “You don’t apply for their grant. They discover you and give the award unsolicited,” he said. “The strong point for us was our commitment to developing new works, even in light of what happened to us with the bad economy last year. They were very impressed by that.”

Reeder was with the American Ballet Theatre from 1994 through 2003, and has created a string of well-received pieces since transitioning into a career as choreographer. His piece for the Sacramento Ballet, “Market Crash,” draws on a score called “Market Forces” by composer Eric Moe (who visited UC Davis just last month, when the Empyrean Ensemble performed his music/video/performance piece “Jozaphine Freedom.”).

Reeder said that in the case of “Market Crash,” Moe’s score was the starting point. “What I hear in the music is anxiety. … The four saxophones are all over the place, and I started thinking of panic on Wall Street, thousands of numbers flashing, stressed-out people writing things down,” Reeder told SN&R in an interview on April 30, three days after he arrived in Sacramento. “It’s not a narrative work, but it will have a corporate look.”

Perhaps Reeder had a premonition that the New York Stock Exchange would take a steep plunge—dropping nearly 1,000 points, and then staging a partial recovery—last Thursday, while he was busy creating “Market Crash” here.

Also on the program will be works by Twyla Tharp, Trey McIntyre and Amy Seiwert. The performance will be followed by drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the patio outside the theater. Tickets are $100, and are available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.

Later this month, the popular annual showcase, Beer & Ballet (a favorite with SN&R readers) will feature new pieces that were created by the young dancers from the Sacramento Ballet corps. It’s a come-as-you-are event, with the audience seated in the rehearsal studio, so close to the dancers that you can hear them breathe.

“It’s truly very experimental,” said Cunningham. “And the edgy, experimentational aspect is what draws the audience.”

There will be six Beer & Ballet performances, spread over two weekends, all at 7 p.m., $30 general, at the Sacramento Ballet Studios; 1631 K Street (corner of 17th and K Streets). Seating is limited, so get tickets early.