Three and a half stars

Butler Ballet;

Clowes Memorial Hall;

Feb. 15-16

“Great choreographers” sums up this mid-winter concert of five provocative works danced and designed with attention to emotional subtext. Tong Wang’s “Piao,” set to music by Elliot Goldenthal, opened to a sculptured corps of dancers who break into a youthful explosion of whirling short skirts and are supplanted by four matronly figures becoming role models for adult deportment. Cynthia Pratt’s shimmering, roiling, plopping, splattering “Rainmakers” was sheer delight, partnered magnificently with Laura E. Glover’s lighting and Michael Gordon’s music. Derek Reid with “For a moment ... unrestrained,” set on Bach cantatas Nos. 157, 115 and 4, steps out of classical into fetchingly eyebrow lifting modern moves. Costuming was especially effective for these three Butler faculty pieces. The second act featured a new work set on Butler Ballet dancers by guest artist Stephen Mills. Set on music by Fain S. Duenas and Walter Von Deer Vogelwide, it’s a story within a story that reflected the Spanish theme of Wang’s work. “Cloven Kingdom,” Paul Taylor’s much lauded ballet, remains a disturbing editorial on humans. On the surface we are suave, inside we morph into animalistic behavior. Susan McGuire set this piece on Taylor’s original design.

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