Last Thursday and Friday nights, Ballet Arizona presented the latest in its series of Studio Spotlight sessions for an upcoming mixed program entitled Masters of Movement.
(Studio Spotlight is a new series of events, which occur two weeks prior to the actual performances. These events are open to everyone, and provide a peek into the inner workings that go into the production of each ballet. The content is varied, and has included performances (in practice clothes), choreographing, choreographer comments, video clips, and dancer Q&A’s. These events take place in Ballet Arizona’s new, intimate 300-seat Dorrance Theater.)
Portions of each of the three works were performed, and it’s clear that the full program will be very varied and very accessible – in terms of music, choreography, and mood.
Symphony Classique is Artistic Director Ib Andersen’s classical choreographic response to Prokofiev’s Symphony #1 (the Classical Symphony). Mr. Andersen stated that his inspiration for this piece was the school of the Paris Opera Ballet, where “every fiber” of the dancer is imbued with classical ballet training. We saw the allegro first movement which is simply bursting with energy – both musically and choreographically. I was reminded of Balanchine’s Symphony in C. Although we did not see them at this preview, the costume design is by Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz.
Indigo Rhapsody is another Ib Andersen ballet, this one to Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Rachmaninoff’s 24 variations run the gamut from disciplined to hectic to lush, inspiring relatively quick changes of groupings and moods in this neoclassical interpretation. Mr. Anderson indicated that a somewhat somber mood blanketed the creation of this ballet back in 2001 - the morning of 9/11 was the day that the choreography began. From the portions I saw, I would by no means say that this ballet is any more somber than the moving and exciting Rachmaninoff that it reflects.
Off Screen is a modern work by Spanish choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, danced to the music of 13 different movie scores. Segments we saw ranged from a delicate pas de deux to a zany Italian street scene. A large black billowing floor covering appears to be the main prop, and it is used to dance on, drag dancers around the stage, provide a hiding space, and so forth. While it’s especially difficult to size up a work like this from a limited preview, one got the sense that it would be relatively light and very enjoyable, with some segments definitely in the LOL category.
Here’s what the Ballet Arizona dancers think of this program: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=kP3VmakTtAg
The Studio Spotlight format definitely provides enough material to whet one’s appetite. Masters of Movement appears to be the ideal program for that friend or coworker who has been reluctant to try the ballet.
Full Performances of Masters of Movement are scheduled for March 27-30, 2014 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.