Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preview: Ballet Memphis (via Dance Cleveland) March 10-11

On my recent trip to Minnesota, you might recall, I stopped in for a Saint Paul City Ballet performance and  lamented Cleveland's lack of ballet. I was overlooking, it seems, Dance Cleveland's presentations bringing the acclaimed Ballet Memphis to Cleveland for two performances on Saturday, March 10th (8p) and Sunday, March 11th (3p) in PlayhouseSquare's Ohio Theater

While Cleveland hasn't had a company in residence since San Jose Cleveland Ballet dropped Cleveland in a dozen years ago -- preceding my arrival in Cleveland -- Dance Cleveland is promising that "If Northeast Ohio still had a classical ballet company in residence, it might look and feel like Ballet Memphis"

The company, now in its 25th year, is headed by Memphis native Dorthy Gunther Pugh has been said to serve as a cultural ambassador for that city's unique cultural heritage.

During their brief stay in Cleveland, the troupe will be presenting a bit of that heritage with a nod to another famous Tennessean: Roy Orbison's voice and six of his most popular songs provides the musical backdrop for Trey McIntyre's "sometimes  dark, always passionate" In Dreams, described by the New York Times simply as "Exceptional".

Choreographed by Jane Comfort with music by Memphis saxophonist Kirk Whalum, S'epanouir comes to an end "with a hand-clapping  gospel celebration". Though the piece "tells the story of a woman in the depths of an emotional crisis" aided in a transformation by community it is said that the piece  has a more joyful quality than is typical for that choreographer's works.

Featuring the rondo finale from the rondo finale Beethoven's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61 dancer-choreographer Steven McMahnon's Being Here With Other People is said to be an expression of gratitude for the "'home-away from home' atmosphere that Steven McMahnon finds in Memphis"

Rounding out the announced program, Curtain of Green by Juila Adam is inspired by Eudora Welty's story of the same time and is an "abstract retelling of lost love, fear, and madness" revolving around a widow who obsessively tends to a tangled garden and whose rage nearly boils over.  

I'm certainly looking forward to the unique expression of ideas that only dance offers.
Ticket prices range from $30-$45 and can be purchased at playhousesquare.org, via phone at 866-546-1353, or to avoid fees in person  at the PlayhouseSquare Box Office on Euclid Avenue.


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