Preview: Beyonce dancer Ebony Williams on her work with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Williams will join the company in performing pieces by Jiří Kylián, Jo Strømgren and Crystal Pite
Walking through Manhattan can feel like you’ve stumbled onto a film set, especially when the lines between fiction and reality start to blur, as happened with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in 2011. Chosen by the makers of The Adjustment Bureau as the dance company actress Emily Blunt performs with, Cedar Lake was able to showcase to the world its dynamic approach to fusing the worlds of classical and contemporary dance.
Founded in 2002, the company is visiting Scotland for the first time, with a triple-bill that takes us from high theatricality to emotional intensity. A quick look at the line-up of choreographers tells you almost all you need to know about Cedar Lake’s direction. Former Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) boss, Jiří Kylián, Norwegian Jo Strømgren, and ex-Ballett Frankfurt dancer Crystal Pite (currently associate choreographer of NDT) all prove that although Cedar Lake is based in the centre of New York’s cultural scene, they have a distinctly European feel.
Much like its taste in choreographers, the dancers Cedar Lake employs also bring their own unique qualities to the table. ‘We pride ourselves on being a very well rounded company,’ says performer Ebony Williams. ‘All the dancers come from very different backgrounds and styles of dance, because we don’t want to be a cookie-cutter company. We’re all so different, and that’s what makes the company wonderful as a whole.’
For her own part, Williams has worked alongside Beyoncé (she’s one of the two women either side of her in the ‘Single Ladies’ video), and finds that life at Cedar Lake affords her the challenge of diversity. ‘Dancing with the company allows me to step into several different worlds of dance, which is great,’ says Williams. ‘Especially when it happens in one evening, where we go from a very streamlined, classical feeling to a more contemporary style. That’s what you get from us; we like to be on the edge.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 11 & Sat 12 Oct.