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Rita Kohn
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Indianapolis School of Ballet Gains Prestigious Balanchine Trust Nod

by Rita Kohn
September 23, 2015
This article was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis; IN. Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
The Balanchine Trust has granted approval to Indianapolis Ballet, Inc., home of the Indianapolis School of Ballet [ISB], to mount a special repertoire of Balanchine Masterworks at the Spring 2016 program, May 21-22 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater.

The announcement was made at the close of the free public program at the Indianapolis ArtsGarden on Sept. 20.

"This means the world to us," said Indianapolis Ballet, Inc/ISB Founding Artistic Director Victoria Lyras, as she applauded the dancers for their dedication to the demanding Balanchine technique.

Lyras described the rigorous process of gaining The Balanchine Trust approval as contingent upon consistent demonstration of training and performing the requisite technique, look, style and understanding of detail demanded by Balanchine.

"But along with incorporating these qualities inside your body, above all is honing an exquisite sense of musicality, speed and strength. This is what makes ISB unique, and you are part of it," said Lyras, speaking directly to the dancers, who were visibly affected.

A former principal dancer and soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet and a Balanchine protege, Lyras told the audience it is important that Indianapolis Ballet, Inc started with a school, in the tradition of Balanchine, who upon the invitation and assistance of Lincoln Kirstein founded the School of American Ballet in 1934 and then established the New York City Ballet in 1948.

"George Balanchine is widely regarded as the Father of American Classicism. He revolutionized the approach to classical ballet through his teaching, musicality and choreography," she added.

"The Balanchine Trust [who accords permission to stage Balanchine choreography only with approved repetiteurs] has already entrusted the Indianapolis School of Ballet with presenting some of his works to our community. This, however, is the first time we've been granted such a large repertoire," said Lyras. "The heart of Balanchine choreography reflects the ideas of imagination and originality."

The Sept. 20 program included seven works choreographed by ISB faculty Roberta Wong, Timothy June, Andrea Bruce Lyras, and guest artists Scott Jovovich, Paul Vitali and Gouping Wang, all danced impeccably by the pre-professional students.

Visit www.indyballet.org for more information on upcoming programs Oct.-Dec.
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