The Los Angeles based Barak Ballet will present its virtual fall gala on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 6 p.m. (PST) – 9 p.m. (EST) featuring Reclamation, a 20-minute Cinematic Ballet by Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Barak. The gala event will also include interviews with dance artists, rehearsal footage and an after-party with the film’s cast and creative team. Barak Ballet is a contemporary ballet company which has been praised for its diverse, innovative dance repertoire, and the highly artistic and technical skills of its dance artists.

This is Barak’s second dance film created during the Covid-19 pandemic, the first being Breathe In released this past June, and going on to receive recognition from the Lady Film Festival, the New York International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Dance Short Film Festival.  Both films are said to “reflect the emotions, conflict and human spirit experienced through recent events, including the pandemic and the California wildfires”.

Artistic Director Melissa Barak - Photo courtesy of the artist

Artistic Director Melissa Barak – Photo courtesy of the artist

Choreographed by Barak and Directed by Barak and Selena Moshell, Reclamation focuses on two separate worlds which ultimately collide, with only one surviving. The executive producers for Reclamation are Craig Olsen and Richard Konigsberg whose film P.S. Burn This Letter Please has been extremely well received throughout the 2020 film festival circuit, including at Outfest Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

The six-member cast of Reclamation include Barak Ballet regulars Jessica Gadzinski, Stephanie Kim, Francisco Preciado and Chasen Greenwood, along with Harrison Coll and Indiana Woodward, currently soloists with New York City Ballet.

“As a contemporary ballet company focused on fulfilling bold, artistic visions, we’ve taken the limitations created by COVID-19 and created a unique opportunity for audiences to experience dance – through cinematic ballet,” said Melissa Barak, Barak Ballet artistic director. “During this challenging time, when we are missing the experience of live performance, we hope this event fills a void, with an evening of dance, art, food, drink, community and celebration.”

Barak went on to say that through the camera lens, she hopes audiences will enjoy the high quality work and the joy of performance which they have experienced with Barak Ballet since it was founded in 2013, and that “Purchasing tickets or a package to the event not only grants access to a one-of-a-kind experience, it also provides an opportunity to support the arts in a time when we need it the most.”

Barak Ballet is partnering with Eataly, Good Grac!ous and Cocktail Courier to deliver drinks and food for people to enjoy while streaming the gala at home. The approximately 90-minute event includes an after-party with breakout rooms including the film’s cast and creative team. Those who purchase a ticket to attend the gala will be automatically submitted in a drawing for prizes, which will be announced during the after party, and can participate in a silent auction.

Barak Ballet in “Desert Transport” – Photo by Cheryl Mann

Here is a description of the two dance films provided in the company’s press release:

Reclamation (to be released November 2020)

Reclamation is a 20-minute, dance-only work set to music by the late Italian composer, Ezio Bosso. The main premise of the film leads the viewer through a ravaged world shot in and around burned areas from the recent CA fires. Inhabiting this world is a female dancer symbolizing more of a tarnished nature spirit. In the meantime, another world exists, a bright and utopian atmosphere, where a group of people dance with abandon and bliss. These two worlds eventually collide bringing healing to one and destruction to the other.

Breathe In dance film (released June 2020)

Breathe In is a short dance film that was shot in May 2020 near the start of the pandemic. As a result of being unable to perform indoors, Barak Ballet shot this film at Pan Pacific Park, utilizing the park’s several architectural sites, as well as the outside of the LA Museum of the Holocaust. We haven’t faced such significant challenges and seen our world turned upside down in the same way since World War II. This film symbolizes the longing for freedom and better days, sentiments to which people from the World War II era and our current point in history can relate.

To visit the Barak Ballet website and to learn about different packages available for a curated virtual gala experience and to purchase tickets, click HERE.

You may also follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: “Reclamation” by Melissa Barak – Photo courtesy of the company