Fanciful Footwork

Photo by  Virginia Trudeau
Nevada Ballet Theatre artists and Cirque staffers have been conceptualizing works for
“A Choreographers’ Showcase.”

Ten times a week, Caine Keenan dons a yellow, feather-bedecked costume and tumbles across the Mystère Theater stage. He fills the minutes between acts with choreographed dance and character improvisation.
Keenan is one of 11 choreographers selected from Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil to create works for “A Choreographers’ Showcase.”
Since April, NBT artists and Cirque staffers have been working to conceptualize, design and choreograph works for the 12th annual production at Mystère Theatre in Treasure Island on Oct. 6, 12 and 13.
Now in his sixth year with the production, Keenan is drawing on his experience to serve this year’s concept of “Beyond the Stage,” inspired by the word “transitions.”
“I’m creating four solos, which will be the transitions between acts in the show. The fourth will go into a piece with all four dancers onstage,” says Keenan. “I’m choosing four pieces of music that will loosely relate to the seasons.”
In her second year choreographing for the showcase, NBT artist Jaime Derocker is building upon the technology-infused duet she created last year. “I wanted to challenge myself … so I’m proposing 15 to 17 dancers.”
Derocker won’t compose most of the choreography until she has bodies in the studio. But she’s recording ideas, taking notes and voice memos on movements and sound to build her story about workers in a mundane job who realize they have a light inside them.
“I see so many people working day in and day out, so unhappy with their lives,” says Derocker. “So many who have a talent or passion they aren’t able to share.”
Her idea started with an infinite cubicle. She’s using the sounds of phones ringing, the click of a pen, a computer’s start-up jangle and taps on a keyboard to score the piece.
“To collaborate and dance on this incredible stage is unlike anything I’ve experienced.”
For NBT artistic director Roy Kaiser, the stage at Mystère Theater and collaboration with Cirque represents a drastic change from the rest of NBT’s season.
“We’re so lucky to have the ballet company and Cirque performers in the same city,” Kaiser says. It’s really unique to Las Vegas.”

“When you think about ballet, you think about ‘Nutcracker,’” says Nevada Ballet Theatre artistic director Roy Kaiser. “Or you think about ‘Swan Lake.’”
While “A Choreographers’ Showcase” flaunts NBT’s skew toward modernism and acrobatics, the company’s second October production is a classic return
to form.
In its first show of the season on The Smith Center stage, artists will perform Ben Stevenson’s “Swan Lake,” Oct. 24-27.
Stevenson’s production tells the familiar tale of a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse with concise choreography, honing the ballet into just over two hours. “I like it because it tells the entire story,” says Kaiser. “It’s beautifully choreographed and really accessible to audiences.”

Photo by Alicia Lee Photography
The Nevada Ballet Theatre will perform
Ben Stevenson’s “Swan Lake,” Oct. 24-27.