Ballet Chicago is primarily a Balanchine-oriented ballet school which regularly gets a show together, in December their Nutcracker and in mid-May, some mixed repertory, adding a few guest performers and mostly leaving out the lowest divisions, as the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. (The matinee Nutcrackers do give the littlest ones some stage experience.) And over the summer, like other schools, they conduct summer programs.
On July 24th, I went along to see the middle-divisions summer-school show, and I took with me the modern-dance fan who couldn't get over the performance of Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15 that the Ballet Chicago Studio Company opened their program with in the Harris Theater in May. The program consisted of three parts, two modern dances made for the occasion, seventeen ballet excerpts, and six Spanish dance numbers prepared for the summer session. The students here were from all over North America and also from Mexico and Brazil.
My interest was mainly in the ballet section of the program, and I'll get off my chest right away my main complaint: The numbers were mostly fragments of movements of Balanchine ballets, familiar to me if not to my friend, and so, regardless, they ended before we were ready for them to end. The dancing (and the choreography) was of such high caliber we wanted more!
And that brings me to my reason for posting, because the upper-division show will go on tomorrow, August 8, so we'll have a chance to get more. I even have hopes that the numbers will consist of complete movements, but the earlier show had some unexpected fun - solos were danced simultaneously by two or three dancers, and we could compare their individual qualities, not to mention enjoy the outstanding "naturals" we spotted here and there - placed so we could see them best! - not necessarily the biggest or oldest-looking, but moving beautifully as though they hadn't needed to study it. The others' qualities were "merely" flowing and gracefully phrased; easy, accomplished.