Review: Midwinter Dance Festival

Butler Ballet's Midwinter Dance Festival

3 stars

Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler

University, Feb. 25-26.

Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht

Ballet” from Gounod’s Faust features 24 female dancers in

shades of purple as wandering souls on the prowl for May Day revelry.

One male dancer is ensnared into their hair-down, ripped costume,

wild leaping and flailing finale.

Deborah Wingert served as the

Repetiteur for the Trust, which maintains the standards of

Balanchine’s choreography. Experiencing Balanchine’s

works in Indiana grows from the 2006 appointment of Michael Vernon as

head of the Ballet Department of the Indiana University Jacobs School

of Music and founding of the Indianapolis School of Ballet soon


The program included Marek Cholewa’s

restaging of the Grand Pas de Deux from Chiaboukiani’s La

Bayadere. Susan McGuire choreographed “Church Song” to

traditional Indonesian music as a four-part modern dance work

depicting aspects of life and emotional interactions. “1st of 3

in 17” by Cynthia Pratt to music by Mozart is fast-paced with

free-flowing sinewy lines and groupings. “Karelia Suite,”

choreographed by Stephan Laurent to music by Jan Sibelius, reflects

the folklore and traditions of Finland.

“Hong,” choreographed by

Tong Wang to Mongolian folk songs, is a richly textured retelling of

the return of swan geese to their home from their winter migration

place. The leads and corps dancers excel in minute footwork, hand and

arm gestures and body extensions and contractions to emulate the

grace, beauty and delicacy yet strength of the birds.