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Embedded Trios

While these selections all focus on trios, each is part of a larger work—or in two unusual cases, smaller ones. Regardless of the gender balance, the range of situations sampled here is surprisingly wide.

12 performances

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Embedded Trios

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Charlotte Ballet

When Breath Becomes Air, 2019

Part of a work for 11 dancers made especially for Charlotte Ballet, this trio by Bryan Arias continually shifts focus among the performers.

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Playing 1 of 12

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Umanoove

The Happiness Project, 2019

While this trio shares the stage with a fourth dancer and the composer/musician, they are most often seen as a unit unto themselves.

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Playing 2 of 12

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Compagnie CNDC-Angers/Robert Swinston

How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run, 2019

In this 1965 classic by Merce Cunningham, the dancers coexist with an onstage pair of speakers who recite short stories by John Cage.

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Playing 3 of 12

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Emma Portner

Lavender, 2018

Though billed as a male-female duet, the initial harmony is complicated by the unexpected arrival of a second man towards the end of this excerpt.

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Playing 4 of 12

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Trey McIntyre Project

Leatherwing Bat, 2008

Complex interpersonal relationships are inferred in this trio set to the music of Peter, Paul and Mary, premiered at the Pillow with Peter Yarrow in attendance.

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Playing 5 of 12

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The Washington Ballet

Seven Sonatas, 2017

Alexei Ratmansky originally created this work for six dancers of American Ballet Theatre, and it was one of the first works brought into the repertory of Washington Ballet after Julie Kent took over the company’s directorship.

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Playing 6 of 12

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Dormeshia, Jason Samuels Smith, & Derick K. Grant

And Still You Must Swing, 2016

Although Camille A. Brown was an integral part of this cast, she’s visibly sitting out this particular section, allowing the three principal choreographers to take center stage.

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Playing 7 of 12

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Daniel Ulbricht / Ballet 2014

Fancy Free, 2014

These three sailors on shore leave in New York City were the starting point for Jerome Robbins to create both Fancy Free and Broadway’s On the Town.

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Playing 8 of 12

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Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Stamping Ground, 2011

Though Jiří Kylián’s dance is nearly 40 years old, it richly deserves the audience gasps that can be clearly heard at the beginning of this astonishing excerpt.

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Playing 9 of 12

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Barak Marshall's MONGER

MONGER, 2010

Watch how these two dancers “create” a third person out of thin air, and then make her disappear just as quickly.

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Playing 10 of 12

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Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble

Nocturne, 1996

It’s fascinating to see how the opening trio gives way to a quartet and then a duet, before the original threesome returns and then reconfigures once again in this early work by Donald McKayle.

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Playing 11 of 12

Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians

Magnetic, 1989

The unusual structure of this work begins with the seven dancers seen at the rear of the stage, who then serve as backup dancers for the three soloists before all ten end the performance as equals.

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Playing 12 of 12

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