Getting physical

Ballet Taos debuts with stunning ‘Mechanical Nature: Movement VII’


The ballet is an original composition titled “Mechanical Nature: Movement VII” and it serves as an introduction to the new Ballet Taos dance studio. Performances are planned Friday and Saturday (May 26-27), 7 p.m., at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

“This provocative original ballet explores global issues we all face today. Integrating aerial and contemporary dance genres with multimedia elements, the choreography reveals the human condition, set to a flawless re-composition of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’ The professional artists of Ballet Taos invite you to be moved, and to join the mission to honor the relevance of dance in modern society and acknowledge that movement is a catalyst for positive change,” an announcement states.

Bernal said his involvement with the piece started with his own sense of frustration over things that are happening in the country right now.  He said he was at Standing Rock, the Water Protector protest movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, when he got a call from Megan Yackovich, a fellow dancer from Taos. “She started talking about doing a show and her ideas. I was in a place of intensity. I was at a protest. I guess everything was focused on Standing Rock and seeing the corruption first hand.”

She said he was “literally shaking in the cold while I was talking to him.”

Inspired by the protest, he began working on the show and other ideas began swirling into the piece, things like women’s rights, Standing Rock, pollution, natural disaster. He said the only outlet he had at the time was through dance and movement.

For Yackovich, she “fell in love with this re-composition of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons.’ I listened to the whole musical score right a couple of months before the [presidential] election. I’ve been teaching in Taos for nine years at the advanced level. So, three years ago, I started to create a pre-professional training program for young dancers. I wanted them to understand that just because you live in Taos doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to take your art to its fullest and become a professional dancer, also the idea that, if you work this hard for something you can make a difference in your own life.”

With all this positive forward energy, Yackovich said she detected a change in the mood after the election. “The air felt heavy. I was looking at a group of lost young people.”

The despair was the result of planned policies and attitudes expressed by the Trump administration, and the now-president’s far right supporters, toward the arts, culture and progressive societal changes they had celebrated only months before.

“So, for me, the love of this musical score ... was current, contemporary, progressive anyway, and when I looked at the dancers that day, I just tucked in. I was like, ‘How is everyone?’ We don’t talk politics and that kind of thing, but I knew right away.” She said her children and others suddenly felt that they lost their voices in the world. “They didn’t make this choice. Their opinion didn’t matter.”

In the creation of this ballet, this was a way to express her point, that through physical expression, through art, “this is your voice, it’s your way to make change.”

Zac Bigbee, one of the dancers, said the ballet is infused with the knowledge and experience of all the creatives involved, and in that way becomes a powerful expression of intangible ideas. “All of us are contributing different expertise to the choreography. On top of that, we’re incorporating aerial dance … and a multimedia aspect. The TCA has this amazing projector. We’re planning to project images over the dancers’ bodies as they’re dancing.”

Bigbee believes the ballet has the power “to transform the community.”

The show is also a way to introduce the idea of a new dance school that young people can take advantage of and learn from.

That’s a lot to take in while enjoying a performance borne of deep meaning and sincerity, but it’s also a symbol of hope, that not all is doom and gloom. It’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at the TCA office behind Caffe Renato in person or via phone Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (575) 758-2052, or you may click here to purchase online (Note: additional fees apply to online ticket purchases). For more about Ballet Taos, call (575) 779-9128.