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The Cap Times

By Dan Van Note

     Madison Ballet goes 'Beyond' in thrilling season finale. “Ballet Beyond” concludes Ja’ Malik’s first season as Artistic Director at Madison Ballet, and it has been an exciting one. I look forward to what lies ahead.


The New York Times

By Roslyn Sulcas


     In Ja’Malik’s “The Hour Before...” Leyland Simmons and Paunika Jones (from Ballet Noir) and Devon Teuscher and Jose Sebastian (American Ballet Theater) provided dynamic, thrilling performances in taut solos and duos set to music by Joby Talbot and Miguel Frasconi ... Ja’Malik’s unpredictable physical inventiveness and theatrical sense mark him as a choreographer to watch. READ FULL

The Washington Post

By Pamela Squires


     Another program high point was Ja'Malik's new "Broken Prayers" This young dancer has been a member of the company since last August, and Emerson was wise to give him a platform to spread his choreographic wings. In a series of solos and duets based on passages from Shakespeare's Sonnets 1 through 17, the work portrays cruelty and beauty. The choreography shows the fine eye of someone who knows how to push dancers to their technical limits while keeping that technique in the service of an idea or visual statement. READ FULL

Oberon's Grove

By Phillip Gardner



     For Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Ja' Malik created an on-pointe ballet to Philip Glass's exciting four-part suite 'Company'; the ballet is entitled "Brief Company". Ja' makes excellent use of the classic ballet vocabulary in a contemporary setting and his dancers met all the demands of Ja's choreography with both energy and artistry... READ MORE

Oberon's Grove

By Phillip Gardner


     Dancers from ABT (Jose Sebastian and Devon Teuscher) and Ballet Noir (NaTalia Johnson and Leyland Simmons) appeared in Ja' Malik's "The Hour Before..." set to music of Joby Talbot ... Right from the opening moment where Leyland comes skidding across the stage in silence - the piece is visually intriguing. As the excellent onstage musicians (Jia Xu, Emily Kalish, Rick Quantz and Jennifer DeVore) strike up Talbot's music (from String Quartets 1 & 2) Leyland launches Sunset with an agitated solo which is echoed further by NaTalia in her solo; they dance together, restless and ever-alert to the music. The young ABT dancers (Devon and Jose) then appear in a fluid adagio (Sunrise) danced with subtle inflections and again perfectly expressive of the music. Now we need to see how Ja' will evolve this into its final, finished form. The elements that we have seen - and so well-danced by all four artists - are impressive. READ MORE


By Simone Sobers


     One word to describe Ja’Malik:  FIRE!  In his piece, "Lucid Dreams", the audience is at the the edge of their seats watching in pure awe, not only of the amazing facility and level of technique of his cast, but also of his ability to bring something refreshing to the contemporary ballet game. Ja’Malik has a keen sense of musicality, ingenious use of space and layering, and a natural element of precision in his work.  Four stars that catch my eye in this piece are Chalvar Monteiro, Johnathan Windham, and the Figgins twins. These dancers have jaw dropping technique, legs for days, and a demanding stage presence.

Critical Dance  

By Jerry Hochman   


        The program’s concluding piece, Mr. Malik’s “Journey to Pandora”, to Philip Glass’s “String Quartet No. 5”, is refreshingly candid about its intended mythological reference points and its structural and thematic nature. It’s described as “an abstract, non-abstract, narrative, non-narrative ballet, based off of a few mythological gods and goddesses such as the Fates, Echo, and Narcissus on a Journey to Pandora.” There’s no jar or box or allusion to one, and the only location called ‘Pandora’ that I’m aware of is the planet invented by James Cameron for “Avatar”. But the piece, a cohesive amalgam of images, pacing, and stage action, is fun to watch and works as a choreographic journey to some better place, wherever that place might be. Oliver Swan-Jackson and the choreographer (who has an extensive performing background) were the male anchors, but Ms. Graneiro, the company spark plug, and Nancy Richer were the individual focal points. Ms. Barrantes and Giselle Alvarez completed the engaging and capable cast.  READ MORE

By ElizbethPortnoy



     "...Ms. Graniero was also featured in Ja' Malik's "Journey to Pandora," set to music composed by Philip Glass. The six dancers in this piece were all dressed in white and portrayed various Greek Gods and Goddesses. This piece, unlike the others on the program, included a long section that featured a male duet. Ja' Malik's use of contemporary arm movements, such as shaking of the hands and inwardly rotated stretches of the arms, distinguished his style from the other choreographers..."  READ MORE

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