Premiere Gala Performance: Ballet Theatre of Indianapolis 

Three stars

Zionsville Performing Arts Center; June 28

Brooklyn Mack exploded onto the stage in the tradition of Edward Villella and set the tone for the intentions of the founders of a newly established ballet company to showcase outstanding new talent from elsewhere. Dancing the male variation of "Diana and Actaeon" that Balanchine choreographed for Villella, Mack showed his acquisition of Villella’s legendary stage presence and leaps that take your breath away. Mack returned to open the second act as the swashbuckling pirate in Petipa’s "Le Corsaire," partnering with Kathryn Tosh. Solo performances by Drew Jacoby and James Moore showcased their virtuosity and new choreographers (and the influences of Pilobolus Dance Theatre on modern work). The evening opened with the introduction of four young Indianapolis-based dancers in Stowell’s Cinderella excerpts. The direction for this episode of the four seasons failed to show the gracefulness, magical atmosphere and links between the four seasons with Cinderella's transformation as originally choreographed by Stowell, a Balanchine dancer who founded Pacific Northwest Ballet. With their presentation of guest programming, BTI particularly showed its respect to Russian Classicism and American Neoclassicism and their masterful choreographers and introduced us to what’s new elsewhere, a philosophy echoing that of Michelle Jarvis at Butler Ballet, Michael Vernon at Indiana University Ballet Theatre and Victoria Lyras at the Indianapolis School of Ballet. But with its direction of its own company members, the fledgling BTI failed to show strong potential as a major professional ballet force.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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