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Steps In Time: Fall Ballet

by Rita Kohn
October 8, 2011
Indianapolis, IN
5 stars
Jacobs School of Music Indiana University Ballet Theater, Musical Arts Center. Oct. 7-8
Music.indiana.edu/operaballet

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
WOWx3 for an exhilarating program showcasing contrasting styles by pioneering choreographers spanning premieres 1941-1991. IU Ballet Theater artistic director Michael Vernon's vision for 3-dimensional flesh and blood, guts and brain, soul and technique approach to performance is securely in place with animated dancers whose vitality bristles throughout the demanding changes across neoclassical and contemporary ballet and modern dance. George Balanchine visualizes Bach's "Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins" [1941] as an engaging ensemble of eight dancers interacting with soloists to show us the music's spiritual perfection. Assuming roles as players with the live orchestra the dancers create quick-paced yet luxurious pictures folding into and unfolding out of each other. Dwight Rhoden interprets and interpolates modern moves through Chopin's piano works as dancers literally float, bounce and explode off the keyboard and represent the exhilarating spaces between notes. Something exciting is happening standing still. The dancers are living manifestations of Chopin's passion and energy throughout "Dear Frederic [2008]. With "Company B" [1991] Paul Taylor juxtaposes grim war against a rush to grasp fun before it is snatched away. Set on recorded popular songs sung by the Andrew Sisters throughout the 1940s, it's sunny, upbeat and carefree until the shocking instant the bugler is shot at the frenzied close of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)" or shadowy soldier figures march in slow motion to their death as dancers in the foreground shake it up. From beginning to end "Steps In Time" delivers an artistic, cultural and social view of the world while showcasing professional quality on a university stage. Production values including costuming and lighting are superb throughout. Worthy of repetition.
Alison Koroly, a student in the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department, in the Rum and Coca Cola section of Company B.

Alison Koroly, a student in the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department, in the Rum and Coca Cola section of Company B.

Photo © & courtesy of Alain Barker


Jacob Taylor in the ‘Pennsylvania Polka' section of Company B.

Jacob Taylor in the ‘Pennsylvania Polka" section of Company B.

Photo © & courtesy of Alain Barker


Christopher Scruggs in Dear Frederic.

Christopher Scruggs in Dear Frederic.

Photo © & courtesy of Alain Barker

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