This year marks the fifth anniversary of Post:Ballet, a company founded by choreographer Robert Dekkers. To celebrate, Post:Ballet presents its first fall full-evening performances. During the summer Five High was performed at YBCA Theater, and this past weekend Hi-5 graced the stage at Z Space in San Francisco.

Post:Ballet in <i>Tassel</i> (with The Living Earth Show) © Tricia Cronin
Post:Ballet in Tassel (with The Living Earth Show)
© Tricia Cronin
Collaboration is frequently cited by Dekkers as central to the company’s mission. But collaboration is intrinsic to theater... and this young company strives to tackle collaborative work in "new and innovative ways". This is most apparent in the evening's music. The four pieces performed were set to scores by Steve Reich and Bach, coupled surprisingly in Flutter; Glass’ “Knee Play Five” from Einstein on the Beach; Bodega by Philadelphia-based sound and performance artist Jonathan Pfeffer; and Tassel by Glasgow-based composer Anna Meredith. All of which – from Reich’s clapping piece to Meredith’s restless composition, performed by The Living Earth Show duo of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson – was fervent, edgy and seemingly unpredictable, lending a hold-on-to-your-seats feeling to the evening.

The jet-propelled duo of Andrews and Meyerson also performed an original score by Damon Waitkus of the critically acclaimed progressive rock band Jack o’ the Clock.

Like his dancers, Dekkers has a strong ballet background. Trained in Atlanta, he also danced in the Bay Area with ODC/Dance, Company C Contemporary Ballet, and Diablo Ballet. He was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for 'Outstanding Performance- Individual' for his 2012-13 season with Diablo Ballet and has been commissioned to choreograph on a number of companies both in the Bay Area and nationally.

The Post:Ballet dancers are similarly well-trained, and have professional ballet backgrounds.

R. Weiner with J. Bannon-Neches, A. DeYoung and C. Squires in <i>Yours in Mine</i> © Natalia Perez
R. Weiner with J. Bannon-Neches, A. DeYoung and C. Squires in Yours in Mine
© Natalia Perez
As a consequence the dancing remained within the bounds of contemporary ballet. There was a greater acrobatic athleticism than what would characterise most non-classical ballet companies, particularly among the male dancers, Christian Squires, Aidan DeYoung and Jeremy Bannon-Neches. And much more use of the floor. In Flutter this took the form of a kind of swimming motion among the dancers aligned in occasional patterns on the floor. In Yours Is Mine, the floor became the surface from which the dancers sprang, tumbled and contended. Yours Is Mine had a clear narrative. It began with a solitary man joined by a second and then a third. Their movements swung between “aggression, camaraderie and sexuality,” especially with the entrance of the fourth dancer, long-legged Raychel Weiner. Weiner was feminine with a contained and self-aware preciseness. The competition and seduction were graceful and insistent, but neither the choreographer nor the dancers shunned the forthrightness of sexual desire. The exchanges spun away from clichés, and Weiner was neither coy nor playful.

Tetyana Martyanova danced a miraculously controlled solo, Sixes and Seven, with each movement carefully measured and each transition from step to step executed slowly and intensely. Uncoated, without even an ounce of fat, her muscles were exquisitely visible throughout this study in meditative movement.

The final piece, Do Be, set to Meredith’s Tassel, was a sly comment on the contradictions of our social lives. The entire company begins the piece onstage in a dreary setting of couches and tables that might be found in a low-rent, furnished apartment, suitcases scattered here and there. The musicians are disguised as standing lamps, shades pulled over their faces, even when they retire to play guitar and drums. Dressed in office work clothes, the dancers bump against each other, reeling in solos and in combination. In the course of their collisions they begin to shed their clothes. It’s not long before they are all in Y-fronts (including the women), finally collapsing in a circle like a chorus of June Taylor dancers.

Post:Ballet in <i>Tassel</i> (with The Living Earth Show) © Tricia Cronin
Post:Ballet in Tassel (with The Living Earth Show)
© Tricia Cronin
Arising from the exhaustion of stripping off their identities, they each grab a suitcase and begin throwing clothes hither and yon. The stage starts to look like a post-Thanksgiving sale at Dress for Less. Finally, everyone’s dressed again, only in more colorful garb: red trousers, green trousers, a wildly patterned dress. That’s it, folks, time to pull the chain on the last lamp!

Five years isn’t long in the life of most companies, but it was clear from the program that the experimentation is the force driving both the choreographer and the dancers. There will be lots of time to watch this choreographer and his company explore and discover.