Atlanta Ballet’s Ignition revs up at the Alliance

“Home in 7” shines in mixed program of three world premieres


  • Charlie McCullers
  • Gina Patterson’s “Quietly Walking” is one of the pieces in the Atlanta Ballet’s mixed program “Ignition” on stage at the Alliance this weekend.

If there’s still any doubt as to whether or not the Atlanta Ballet is a company willing to take risks, Ignition, the mixed program of three new works by young choreographers playing this weekend at the Alliance Theater, should put those doubts to rest once and for all. The Atlanta Ballet is not a company that stands at the side of the pool and dips in its toe; they take a “run at top speed and dive right in” sort of approach to innovative new work.

The evening opens with Bennyroyce Royon’s “Flux,” and it starts with a stunning, quiet, dramatic moment: A handful of the male dancers wander onto the eerily-lit Alliance stage in silence, in street clothes. A ripple of energy seems to wash over them, and it transfers through each one in a powerful wave, as it bends their spines and activates their limbs and joints. It’s a stunning opening—unexpected and heart-stoppingly dramatic. The choreographer has a facility with quickly-changing tableaux and the arrangement of dancers, though the drama and coherence of the opening moment proved difficult for Royon to sustain throughout. I loved the defiantly non-balletic elements of the movement: the use of undulating spine, non-frontality and bent torso, but the longtime ballet patron next to me seemed to be very unhappy with the bright lights and unusual score.