Review: Indianapolis School of Ballet Summer Intensive Showcase

Students performing at the Artsgarden

Next appearance: Aug. 19 at Indy Eleven half-time. At the Indianapolis ArtsGarden, backstage is in full view before the show. As the dancers assemble for the opening numbers, smiling at family and friends, their collective focus zeros in on the music cue. A waft of blue floats on stage. It's a waltz with an attitude and each dancer gives depth of character to the flower they bringing to life.

I think of architect Walter Blackburn as the dancers frame this organic scene to the closing strains of Delibes' waltz. I imagine hearing him say, "Yes, that's the perfect portal for what's inside."

What's inside is a program of eleven other short dances across genres including classical and contemporary ballet, modern dance, folk, tap and Broadway shows. Dancers range from pre-teen to pre-professional with a mix of first time and multiple-year returnees to the ISB annual Summer Intensive that brings instructors with international and national resumes to carry on the tradition of learning from the Masters.

What's most fun is watching the younger dancers off-stage mark the movements of the older ones on stage, suddenly taking on the posture of Spanish dancers arching and replicating triple stepping to the music of Tchaikovsky.

The pint-sized cygnets in soft pink dresses in a modern dance version of the famously synchronized scene from Swan Lake, and upper level dancers recreating Gershwin on toe from dreamy sways to swaggy honky-tonk were probably the most unexpected parts of the show.

Equally noteworthy during the ambitious program were recreations of Minkus' La Bayadere, Bach's Goldberg Variations and Well-tempered Clavier; Tchaikovsky's Danse Espagnole and new configurations of Tango and Celtic dances.

Choreography was by Coleen Rhea, Guo Ping Wang, Roberta Wong, Victoria Lyras, Scott Jovovich, Karen Scalzitti Kennedy and Paul Vitali.

The Indianapolis School of Ballet will perform at Carroll Stadium, IUPUI, next indyballet.org

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