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Cincinnati Ballet

Basically Dance

By Julie Mullins · December 28th, 2005 · Shake It
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  The Year In Review
The Year In Review



Diversity and drama were the hallmarks for dance during 2005 -- on- and off-stage: dance emergencies, growing multiculturalism and some outstanding performances.

In dance developments, CINCINNATI BALLET unveiled an elegant, functional and intimate performance studio, a sizable addition to their Over-the-Rhine space. CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATER (CDT) has hired Lisa Buck as its assistant director; she was formerly with the Contemporary Arts Center and Fairfield's Fine Arts Center. It's about time CDT's director Jefferson James stops trying to do everything herself! Kidding aside, James does a fine job of cultivating and maintaining interest in modern dance -- besides bringing important and diverse dance companies to town.

The recently formed MOVING ART DANCE COMPANY forges ahead with its second season -- after a stressful turn just before Habitual Insanity opened in November: One dancer of the show's trio injured herself at the last minute, forcing choreographer Colleen McCarty to recast or reconfigure the work. She made the right choice: The piece maintained a balanced, taut feeling as a duet. With daring partnering and weight sharing, the tension between the dancers appeared undiluted by a third.

I suppose the unexpected is part of what keeps dance exciting, except when a company suddenly folds. Indianapolis' 32-year-old Ballet Internationale closed its doors Nov. 9, apparently without warning.

Diversity and drama were the hallmarks for dance during 2005 -- on- and off-stage: dance emergencies, growing multiculturalism and some outstanding performances. ...

In dance developments, CINCINNATI BALLET unveiled an elegant, functional and intimate performance studio, a sizable addition to their Over-the-Rhine space.

CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATER (CDT) has hired Lisa Buck as its assistant director; she was formerly with the Contemporary Arts Center and Fairfield's Fine Arts Center. It's about time CDT's director Jefferson James stops trying to do everything herself! Kidding aside, James does a fine job of cultivating and maintaining interest in modern dance -- besides bringing important and diverse dance companies to town. ...

The recently formed MOVING ART DANCE COMPANY forges ahead with its second season -- after a stressful turn just before Habitual Insanity opened in November: One dancer of the show's trio injured herself at the last minute, forcing choreographer Colleen McCarty to recast or reconfigure the work. She made the right choice: The piece maintained a balanced, taut feeling as a duet. With daring partnering and weight sharing, the tension between the dancers appeared undiluted by a third. ...

I suppose the unexpected is part of what keeps dance exciting, except when a company suddenly folds. Indianapolis' 32-year-old Ballet Internationale closed its doors Nov. 9, apparently without warning. Effects rippled through the dance community -- a wake-up call revealing that no company can truly be invulnerable, given the harsh climate of under-funded arts. ...

One of the most multi culturally diverse years in recent memory brought acts such as China's lavish Shangri-La production to the normally mainstream Aronoff Center. Interest in Latin dance continued to grow, from the vibrant social salsa dance scene to heavily stylized performances such as Tango Flamenco from Spain's Compañia Talent Danza Ballet Español. Tribal belly dance and myriad gypsy styles have shimmied into the foreground with performances around town from GAIANANDA and other troupes. Break-dancing, flanked by other athletic Hip Hop forms has resurfaced from the '80s. Rennie Harris/Puremovement company's show, presented by CDT, knocked me out with raw energy and moving social commentary -- not to mention gravity-defying hands-free head spins! Months later, and with a less formal tone, Break! swept the audience through essential elements of Hip Hop culture: a DJ's warp-speed turntable mixing antics, serious robotic moves, incredible human beat-box sounds from a youth's mouth and more. An unexpected choice for Cincinnati Arts Association, no? I never thought I'd see head spins onstage twice in one year in Cincinnati -- let alone at the Aronoff Center! ...

2005's most memorable dance performances? New York's Risa Jaroslow and Dancers' recent local appearance (another CDT presentation) leaps to mind. Exploring themes rooted in authentic human stories, they presented the refreshing Whole Sky. Although the dancers demonstrated highly developed skill, this piece wasn't about overtly tricky or flashy moves. The expressive, fluid choreography maintained a certain dynamic of ease and lightness that was a pleasure to watch. I sensed that the dancers were moving from a personal place within, giving the piece substance. ...

Award-winning Canadian choreographer Sarah Slipper presented a spellbinding duet, "A Fine Balance," as part of Cincinnati Ballet's New Works Festival in November. Risky balancing on tables and chair legs set against tableau-style, freeze-frame lighting emphasized dramatic tensions in a couple's relationship. Their strength and focus mesmerized. ...

The BROADWAY SERIES' presentation of the Broadway hit Movin' Out, featuring choreography from contemporary legend Twyla Tharp, set to Billy Joel's Pop tunes, offered a fun, accessible and classically American look at solid songwriting and virtuosic dancing. And I'm still haunted by Pat Graney Company's slightly eerie, quirky performance. ...

What will next year bring for dance? Above all, we must hope (and beg) for arts funding to ensure the survival of companies new and old so audiences can look forward to more memorable dance performances.



CONTACT JULIE MULLINS: jmullins(at)citybeat.com
 
 
 
 

 

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