Review: IU Ballet's 'New York' homage

Caitlin Kirschenbaum and Paul Dandridge

4.5 stars

Indiana University Jacobs School of

Ballet, Musical Arts Center, March 25-26.

Bold programming brought three iconic

works together for an aesthetic tour de force of dance. IU School of Ballet dancers proved their mettle presenting Paul Taylor’s modern dance, Anthony Tudor’s story ballet and George Balanchine’s fusion of ballet/musical theater. An outstanding live orchestra and soloists, conducted by Stewart Kershaw, added to the thrill of the program.

Twelve dancers moved seamlessly in and

out of the complexities of Taylor’s Cloven Kingdom

[1976] merging our animalistic instincts with expected behaviors

during a black tie social event. Layering and interspersing

athleticism onto graceful lines is simultaneously amusing and thought

provoking, heightened by music by Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell and

Malloy Miller.

Tudor’s highly theatrical 1936

ballet Lilac Garden grows from Ernest Chausson's Poem for

Violin and Orchestra as the story of a woman dealing with the

consequences of an arranged marriage of convenience.

Brette Benedict, Christopher Scruggs,

Iver Johnson and Laura Whitby brought authoritative technique and

superb acting/miming qualities to the leading roles, and eight

supporting dancers were equally perfect, timing entrances and exits,

building dimensional characters and plumbing psychological impacts of

thwarted true love. Benjamin Hoffman’s solo violin plumbed

emotional depths.

Who Cares? [1970] set on 16

songs composed by George Gershwin traces Balanchine’s arc out

of a period of personal loss and was created nearly four decades

after Gershwin originally asked Balanchine to choreograph a film.

Gershwin died before the project reached fruition.

With a nod to Fred Astaire, Balanchine

combined the lines of ballet with the verve of show dancing to the

score adapted and orchestrated by Hershey Kay. Featuring pianist

Susan Chou, four principal dancers, a corps de ballet of ten

women and five couples, Who Cares? is a fun-filled romp across

New York City.

IU continues to deliver amazing opportunities for their students, by providing excellent directors working with great choreography.


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