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
 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
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
Who Cares?  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.