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Pas de new: Ballet duo debut dance of love and time

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It’s a new home and new show!

An acclaimed ballet company that made the grand jeté from Manhattan to Dumbo last year will debut an original production this month. Creating the piece “Stealing Time,” which opens on March 17, is a bold new step for the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, said its founder.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a full story ballet, original story,” said Gelsey Kirkland, who is also the show’s co-artistic director. “It’s of course our mission to grow and create new works.”

Kirkland, once the principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, has danced the lead in ballets including “The Nutcracker” and “Romeo and Juliet” for audiences across the globe. She now teaches at her own studio in Dumbo, along with her husband, dancer Michael Chernov, who created the scenario of “Stealing Time.” The new ballet uses the music of German composer Kurt Weill in a surreal comedy about love, time, and conflict, said Chernov.

“It’s about people who have trouble with time,” he said. “It’s time itself, like when you’re born and when you die. And love has no time, so it’s this conflict in human beings, between love and structure.”

Kirkland and Chernov moved the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet and its associated ballet company to Dumbo last June, into the space previously occupied by St. Ann’s Warehouse. The dancing duo love the space they now have to accommodate all of their programs, they said.

“Dumbo is probably one of the most exciting areas in New York and we love St. Ann’s Warehouse,” said Chernov. “You can’t get space like this in Manhattan, it’s not possible. This is the most perfect space.”

Chernov, a dancer and choreogrpher for more than 45 years, is excited for his show’s debut, though he hopes everything comes together smoothly, he said.

“I’m nervous as hell. It’s a lot of work, trying to make everything happen at the same time is very complex,” he said. “It’s very rare there is a new full-length ballet that gets put on, and there is a return to story ballet with narrative, so this is an important event.”

Working on the show has been a great learning experience for 22-year-old Dawn Milatin, who plays Venus, the wife of the main character in “Stealing Time.”

“It’s really cool the process since it’s a new work. We’re working together with the directors and choreographers figuring out everything for the first time. There’s a lot of trial and error and so you grow with each process,” said Milatin.

“Stealing Time” at Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center [29 Jay St. between Plymouth and John streets in Dumbo, (212) 600–0047, www.gelseykirklandacademyofclassicalballet.org]. March 17–20. $20–$59.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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