In a year with Fosse!, Twyla Tharp Dance, Hubbard Street Dance and Ballet Hispanico scintillating the Clowes stage, the Rockettes high-kicking the Murat footlights and Shanghai Ballet mesmerizing Pike Performing Arts Center patrons, it"s Ballet Internationale"s China tour that"s the dance story of 2002, with Dance Kaleidoscope"s splash at OceanDance right behind.
The Twyla Tharp Dance Company performed at Clowes in February.
A year ago, BI"s financial straits were news. Now, BI is just about the most venturesome arts organization on the block with "one of the most ambitious tours of China ever undertaken by an American ballet company," according to Robyn Allen, BI"s publicity manager. (In 1995, BI performed in Taiwan to wide media attention.) Two years in planning with World Touring Productions, the company of 28 professional BI dancers and eight staff members will leave Indianapolis on Christmas Day and make their debut in Shanghai on Dec. 28. Performances are planned in NingBo, XiaMen, FoShan, ShenZen, GuangZhou, TianJin, ShiJiaZhuang, WenZhou, SuZhou, DongGuan and ZhuHai. The tour will conclude in Beijing on Jan. 30, 2003. BI will be presenting Carmen, a one-act ballet choreographed by Alberto Alonso, Russian Treasures, a compilation of scenes by renowned Russian choreographers, and the company"s signature ballet, A Thousand and One Nights, choreographed by artistic director Eldar Aliev. ATA/Ambassadair is offering a special tour package for anyone desiring to combine a China vacation with BI"s performance in Beijing. Call 637-8979 or log on to www.balletinternationale.org for details. Contributions toward the final costs of the tour are still being solicited. A festive fund-raising event on Sept. 12 and other major sponsorships have helped cover the bulk of the company"s costs. Dance Kaleidoscope, like BI, tours extensively, along with presenting a full season in Indianapolis. DK"s national recognition extends beyond the annual summer residency at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to include the prestigious invitation to perform at the OceanDance Festival Dec. 6 and 7, where Cynthia Pratt"s Suite for the Holidays premiered prior to its Indianapolis introduction Dec. 20-22. With standing ovations still ringing in their ears, DK is looking at how to position itself as a major company nationwide. During 2002, BI presented a passionate Giselle. DK earned accolades for an outstanding program of personal stories. East Meet West premiered David Hochoy"s brilliant China Boy and Cynthia Pratt"s poignant Red Thread. Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre dared to fill Clowes Hall with a work set on the Dracula theme. GHDT continues to be the only company filling a summer bill in Indianapolis. The Irish Dancers of Indianapolis provided a rousing St. Patrick"s Day exhibition on the stage of the Indiana Historical Society and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis partnered with Conner Prairie to showcase fiddling and dancing under the stars in the outdoors amphitheatre. Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, "Indianapolis area"s newest ballet group, performing at Westfield High School auditorium," was announced by artistic director Suzann DeLay. We"re told to watch for an expanding season. IU Ballet Theater consistently delivered well-choreographed, strongly-danced programs, including several premieres on Americana themes and a stunning interpretation of The Nutcracker. Butler Ballet presented a whimsical bit of Fosse following a residency by Fosse! cast members, and premiered works by faculty and student choreographers. Pike Performing Arts Center continues to challenge audiences with companies from elsewhere and by providing presenting space for Indy-based groups. Broadway in Indianapolis showcases the specialized, glitzy dancing of big stage musicals and this year opened opportunities for girls ages 10-14 to audition for the role of Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. What a way to build a resume.