Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Magic and Ballet

I am always awed by the performance of ballet dancers. Their work is truly the synthesis of technical mastery and artistic expression. Each dancer must perform to the highest degree of excellence while conveying the emotions behind a piece, all without use of words (obviously). The Mixed Repertoire performed by the Texas Ballet Theater truly highlights this synthesis. I had the pleasure of seeing the show at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth but I am really tempted to go see it again this weekend in Dallas. It was a moving, beautiful show that illustrates three very different styles of performance from one troupe.

The first piece is by Choreographer and Creative Director Ben Stevenson and is titled Four Last Songs. It was as if I had been transported to the Classical Sculpture wing of the Met at night and all the sculptures had come to life. The dancers flowed and moved fluidly through each other and would then freeze in beautifully composed groupings. The magic of geometry, movement, and composition flowed through the piece and united to convey complex sadness and longing.

The second piece, choreographed by dancer Peter Zweifel (definitely an artist to watch), is called Love Always Remains. This was a fantastic contrast to the first piece. Zwiefel uses the body in a way that is completely different from the movements in Stevenson's piece. It's as though the dancers were charged like atoms with force fields attracting and repelling one another as they told a story of interaction, passion, and loss. The choreographic style pushes towards modern dance but definitely expresses the grace and technical skill of ballet. I enjoyed the use of contemporary indie rock in the piece. It was surprising but not jarring or discordant.

The final piece, George Balanchine's Theme and Variations will definitely please those who enjoy a more traditional performance. There are tutus, tights and sequins galore. The piece is energetic and fun with wonderful solo and troupe sections that highlight the technical strengths of the TBT.

I found the show moving and inspiring. If you are in Dallas this weekend, I highly recommend attending one of the performances.

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