IU Ballet Theater boldly and tenderly presented Balanchine's four attributes — foremost as a choreographer and ballet master who honored each dancer under his care. Balanchine showed us what we need to be a people with heart and soul, civility and joyfulness.
"Ballet is important and significant...yes, but first of all, it is a pleasure." IU Ballet Theater used this Balanchine quote in its promotion for the March 25- 26 program.
Serenade was Balanchine's first work set upon his first group of students at the School of American Ballet he initiated with co-founder Lincoln Kirstein in 1934. On March 24, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts hosted a program centered on the transformation of Serenade over the past eight decades.
Raymonda Variations, set to the romantic score by Glazunov, and individuals operated well within the context of the group. The corps work indeed was dazzling.
Elégie interprets Stravinsky in the poetry of ancient Greece. A corps of female dancers, barefoot with hair loose is a total change from hair bound in a bun and feet bound in pointe shoes, setting the scene for the demanding Pas de Deux, reflecting the music's flow and variety through the bodies of two dancers weaving in and out of their connectivity while rooted to one spot. Emotion-packed, it is like one long sigh with a final release of breath. Elegance was at the essence for Elizabeth Yanick and Glenn Kelich, featured at the March 26 program that I attended. (Cara Hansvick and Colin Ellis danced the roles March 25.)
Stuart Chafetz conducted the fine orchestra, with excellent solo playing moments. Patrick Mero was lighting designer. Artistic Director Michael Vernon is chair of the IU Ballet Department. Re-staging works as representatives of the George Balanchine Trust were Repetiteurs Victoria Simon, Deborah Wingert and Darla Hoover. Carter Alexander and Melinda Roy were guest coaches. Gouping Wang was Ballet Master and Shawn Stevens was Ballet Mistress.
May 25-26, Indiana University Ballet Theater, Jacobs School of Music
Music Arts Center (Bloomington)