Ballet Next (photo Nisian Hughes)
(TIVOLI, N.Y.) – Virtuoso Flex dancer Jay Donn joins BalletNext in “The Game,” a choreographed mashup of two divergent styles, premiering at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center on Saturday, June 17, at 7:30, and Sunday, June 18, at 2:30.
The premiere of “The Game” is the culmination of BalletNext’s week-long creative residency at Kaatsbaan. Kaatsbaan hosts one- to three-week residencies for dance artists to create and showcase new works. The troupe will also perform its signature dance, “La Follia,” a duet for two women created by Mauro Bigonzetti.
Jay Donn is a highly energetic, daredevil dancer from Brooklyn. He is a cofounder of the Brooklyn dance style known as Flexing and creator of the sub-style, “Punchlines.” At age 15, he started his dance career on BCAT’s TV show Flex N Brooklyn and saw a boost in his career when his group, Ringmasters, appeared on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew Season 3. He has been seen in many music videos alongside Elephant Man, Nicki Minaj, LMFAO Sky Blu, among others and in feature films including Step Up 3D and FLEX IS KINGS. He toured worldwide with LMFAO Sky Blue Big Bad University and Company XIV’s ballet, Pinocchio. He regularly performs with electro-acoustic cellist composer Chris Lancaster.
“Jay does these aerodynamic, dare-devilish moves that catch your attention,” says BalletNext founder and artistic director Michele Wiles, an award-winning former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Embracing risk and pushing boundaries, Wiles founded BalletNext in 2011 to pair classically trained dancers with live musicians in a collaborative setting.
After seeing Donn rehearse in a Brooklyn basement space, Wiles says, “I fell in love with Jay’s passion, energy, virtuosic technique — and those arm movements! Flex is a lot about the upper body; ballet is more about the legs. We’re teaching each other and creating a new language as we choreograph new work.” Donn asks the ballet dancers to “break out of being stiff — be yourselves and be free.” In turn, says Donn: “I wake up in the morning thinking about ballet — it flows through me.”