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Playing the Holiday Soundtracks

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 12, 2012
‘Tis the season for an abundance of music that includes beloved traditions: Handel’s oratorio Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Both pieces are holiday staples performed year after year. After year.  
by Jac Kern 10.26.2012
Posted In: Music, Events, Eats, Drinking, Holidays at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Your Halloweekend To Do List: 10/26-10/28

Halloween is no longer a one-night event just for kids. Like many holidays, Halloween’s reach goes beyond Oct. 31 (I’m pretty sure I saw costumes descend into stores mid-August), giving us grownups a chance to dress up and act out. This (Hallo)weekend features events that celebrate all the weird, wonderful and freaky aspects of our favorite holiday. If staged dance performances weren’t what you had in mind, think again. While not necessarily Halloween-related, Cincinnati Ballet’s ALICE (in Wonderland) will take audiences on a whimsical journey down the rabbit hole Friday-Sunday. In addition to talented dancers and music by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the costume and set designs are truly freaky-fabulous. For a darker dance experience, check out Exhale Dance Tribe’s one-night engagement, Dead Can Dance. The troupe has transformed Emery Theatre into a haunted house, where dancers will lead spectators from room to room, creating an interactive, spooky show Saturday night. The performance begins at 7 p.m. After a month of bringing photography to the forefront of the Cincinnati art scene, FotoFocus will close with Saturday’s Carnevil. The event boasts a full bill of entertainment from live music and DJs to improv and burlesque to fortune-tellers. Guests are encouraged to explore the venue, Newport’s Thompson House — which is said to be haunted — and hunt for spirits from Southgate’s past. Find tickets and event details here. What’s creepier than three identical mute men, covered in paint? Blue Man Group wraps up its local run with performances at the Aronoff Center Friday-Sunday. The show is an energetic spectacle that theater critic Rick Pender describes as “a strange and wonderful communal experience.” Go here to read our full review. Judging by the number of Halloween bar and club events, alcohol is the “candy” of choice for many adult trick-or-treaters. So it looks like Arnold’s picked the perfect weekend for The Bourbon Ball. The bar will be stocked with more than 30 top shelf selections, offering specials on Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and other bourbon classics as well as bourbon-infused bites like Bourbon Bacon Strips and Bourbon Sauce Pork. The free event will also have swag bags and live music all night. Final Saturday means Night Owl Market is back, bringing food trucks and vendors together at the parking lot at Main Street and Central Parkway. In addition to late night eats, NOMers can participate in a costume contest and a flash mob-style “Thriller” dance with Pones Inc. The free fun runs 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday. One thing that’s definitely scarier than any haunted house or paranormal activity hotspot is breed discrimination. Show some love to dogs that prove no breed is born “vicious” at Bark Bash: Celebrating National Pit Bull Awareness Day. From pit bulls to puggles, all are welcome to romp around Voice of America Park Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be raffles, vendors, kids activities and appearances from the Ben-Gals and Cincinnati Rollergirls. Few experiences are more picturesque than spending a fall afternoon perusing Findlay Market. This Sunday the market presents its annual Fall Food Festival, featuring a pie baking contest, cider mulling demo, live music, food tour and more. Come hungry between noon and 4 p.m. Find details here. Check out ScaryBeat for a full rundown of costume parties, bar events, haunted houses and more happening this weekend through Oct. 31.
 
 
by Julie Mullins 09.15.2012
Posted In: Dance at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Ballet's 'New Works' Opens with Emotion

Contemporary new work's moments of stillness and quiet grab you and draw you in

The intense energy between Principal dancers Cervilio Amador and Janessa Touchet is so palpable you can feel it — even when their hands aren’t touching. Their expressive duet in Heather Britt’s world premier “Opus 5.5” provided an inviting opening to Cincinnati Ballet’s annual Kaplan New Works season opener last Thursday evening. The production offers a rare chance to see dance up close, as it takes place in the company’s home performance studio at the Cincinnati Ballet Center. There’s nothing like watching live performance, but there’s something even more exciting and visceral about seeing the dancers glowing and their muscles flexing. Full of emotion, Britt’s sweeping contemporary new work has the dancers really moving all over: across the stage in sculptural lifts, through the air in expansive leaps and extravagant extensions. But it’s really the rare moments of stillness and quiet that grab you and draw you in closer. New Works’ stock in trade has always been pushing stylistic boundaries. “It’s our R&D,” says Cincinnati Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. “We need to scare ourselves, to try things we’ve never done before.” But this year is noteworthy for another reason: For the first time, all of the choreographers featured are female. Dance-wise, the women also stand out in the spotlight this year more than usual. Though, as always, there are plenty of equally fine turns by the men as well. Paige Cunningham Caldarella’s “Without Consideration,” the program’s most offbeat piece, presents a topsy-turvy look at social media and its pleasures and pitfalls. Its five short sections comprise a modern dance piece cut with classical ballet. It’s by turns satirical, ominous and oddly compelling. Clad in a lime green tee-shirt and a short, ruffled floral skirt, Corps de Ballet dancer Courtney Hellebuyck shines in her solo. She attacks each movement with ferocious intensity. Her dramatic facial expressions and stage presence are spellbinding. She and the other four dancers appear equally comfortable switching between styles — instant, by instant — in this mash-up of ballet and modern. The women even manage to perform modern floor drops in pointe shoes. A physical wall (think social media) covered in paper provides the backdrop and set piece. The dancers write on it, hurl themselves against it, and press into it. They connect and disconnect, or nearly connect with each other. But at times, they just miss, undulating away from each other. Individual gestures are repeated, such as one’s own hand suddenly turning the head and face away in a slo-mo sideways “slap.” It seems to suggest the struggle to turn one’s attention away from staying online all day. Amy Seiwert, San Francisco-based Resident Choreographer for Smuin Ballet (where she was also a longtime dancer), has created a thoroughly delightful getaway world in her world premier modern ballet ,“Think of You Often.” The weather is balmy. The light-colored clothing, designed by the Cincinnati Ballet Wardrobe Department, is carefree and casual. The women collectively become an ocean tide, even in their pointe shoes. Its feel-good soundtrack, music by the Swedish group Koop, delivers effusive swing and a touch of Latin flair. Principal dancer Sarah Hairston warmly embraces her role, full of flirtation and feline sassiness. First two, then four men lift and sway her — and no doubt cater to her every need. But don’t let the piece’s escapist playfulness belie its underlying choreographic sophistication. The partnering throughout is highly complex, original, and technically demanding. In a most striking duet, Zach Grubbs and Jacqueline Damico make the most intricate sequences look as easy and natural as an ocean breeze. Jessica Lang’s contemporary neoclassical work “La Belle Danse” (2007) presents a slightly quirky court dance of sorts. Set to a score of the likes of Handel and Mozart, it’s the sole work here that the Ballet has presented previously, in 2009. It’s the most classical piece on the program — relatively speaking — yet unexpectedly it marks the only one where the women wear soft shoes. Displaying a very different, more sacred type of passion in this role’s solo, Hairston demonstrates her versatility as  dancer, and a performer. The large cast brims over with expressive dancing, filled with plenty of leaps, turns, waltzing… and conducting gestures. Amador and Touchet rapid-fire their way through pirouettes and petit allegro galore. Although their style here sharply contrasts their opening duet, this superb pairing brings this production — one of the best New Works in recent years — full circle.
 
 
by Jac Kern 09.13.2012
Posted In: Events, Performances at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Thursday To Do List

Whether you have a great relationship with your boss or you’re dealing with your own personal Michael Scott, we’ve all had a laugh or two at the expense of our employers. And while I’m still perfecting my bit on Danny Cross, there’s group of former senate staffers who turned office jokes into a touring comedy show. The Capitol Steps is a political satire troupe with a cast of 30 members, many of whom have worked on Capitol Hill at some point. It began as a small skit at a Christmas party, but was so well-received that staffers rounded up others and took the show on the road. The Capitol Steps have been at it for more than 30 years, and they’re bringing the show to town for one night only at Mayerson JCC. Reserved seats are sold out, but a limited amount of tickets will be sold at the door for $30 ($25 for J Members). The show begins at 7 p.m. so show up early if you’re looking for tickets. Check out our interview with two "Steps," original member Elaina Newport and Cincy native Bari Biern, here. Caracole provides safe, affordable housing and support services for Southwest Ohioans living with HIV and AIDS. The organization’s offices recently moved to Northside (4138 Hamilton Ave.) and tonight the crew hosts an open house celebration. Learn more about their services and check out the new digs while enjoying music, snacks, artwork and a photo booth from 4-9 p.m. Caracole is looking to stock up its donation pantry, so bring any toiletries and cleaning supplies you can contribute. The Cincinnati Ballet and ArtsWave present “Cocktails and Conversations,” as part of their Friends for the Arts program. Celebrate remarkable women in business and the arts at Cincinnati Ballet’s theater tonight at 7 p.m. Before the Kaplan New Works Series show is a cocktail reception where guests can mingle with influential women from the aforementioned organizations as well as area philanthropists and entrepreneurs. Afterwards, enjoy new dance performances all choreographed by women. Buy tickets here. The Cincinnati Film Festival continues tonight at Esquire Theatre with Man from Orlando, Party Crashers, Shining Night: A Portrait of Morten Lauridsen and Street Paper. The fest closes tomorrow.For more events, including concerts, art shows, theater performances and more, check out our full calendar.
 
 
by Jac Kern 09.12.2012
Posted In: Performances, Movies, Events at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Wednesday To Do List

The Cincinnati Ballet opens each season with a fresh crop of modern performances, but this season’s Kaplan New Works Series stands out as being the first featuring all women choreographers. While ballet dancers are predominantly female, male choreographers significantly outnumber women. Choreographers Amy Seiwert, Paige Cunningham Caldarella, Heather Britt and Jessica Lang all present new programs through Sunday. Tickets are still available for tonight’s 8 p.m. performance here. Check out our recent story on the Kaplan New Works Series to learn more about these choreographers and the program. Ensemble Theater Cincinnati and Playhouse in the Park also have productions tonight. ETC’s Good People, a Critic’s Pick, is “a total package that feels good and real from start to finish.” The Three Musketeers, onstage at the Playhouse, promises lots of silly laughs and exciting swordplay. See Rick Pender’s full review here. The Cincinnati Film Festival continues today with screenings running through 9 p.m. at Esquire Theater. Single tickets are $10 or $25 for the full night. Read our interview with Executive Director Katharine Steele here. The Main Library downtown kicks off its series of experimental music nights with Electric Inertia and Her Weasels Wild Running at 7 p.m. in the Reading Garden Lounge. The night will feature stop-motion animation from 1930s film footage, free-form trumpet, piano and guitar. The series continues Sept. 26, Oct. 3,17 and 30.Columbus Day might be a month away, but locals can celebrate early by visiting replicas of The Nina and Pinta today. The ships will be at the Levee (conveniently docked by Hooter's) through Saturday. Tours are available between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and run $6-$8 per person. Peep our full calendar for more concerts, art and theater shows, events and more stuff to do tonight.
 
 

Cincinnati Ballet Spotlights Female Choreographers

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
As its name suggests, Cincinnati Ballet’s Kaplan New Works Series prides itself on moving dance forward. You can count on the company’s annual season opener to be modern-slanted, edgy even. But for the first time, all of the choreographers on the New Works bill are women.  
by Jac Kern 08.03.2012
at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 8/3-8/5

Screech is going to be at Boogie Nights. The ‘90s TV geek-turned-porn star Dustin Diamond will make an appearance at Hollywood Casino’s night club Friday. Cover is $10 cover, but admission is free if you dress like Kelly Kapowski, Lisa Turtle, Jessie Spano or any of your favorite Saved By the Bell characters. Doors open at 9 p.m. Get ready to dance like you’re so excited… The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON, real thing) hosts an international symposium this weekend at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. If you have seen an unexplainable object in the sky, are interested in the idea of intelligent extraterrestrial life or just love a good conspiracy theory, here’s an opportunity to share your stories and learn more about UFOs. Speakers include a nuclear physicist, an abduction researcher, an aerospace engineer and many others in the field. Additionally, researchers at MUFON will announce a major discovery, presenting credible evidence for UFOs. Register here and see what it’s all about, Friday-Sunday in Covington (Spoiler Alert: ticket prices are kinda steep). Remember Wiedemann beer? George Widemann founded the company in 1870 with a brewery on Columbia Street in Newport, Ky., making the Bohemian-style beer synonymous with Northern Kentucky. The brewery closed in 1983, but the brand has recently been reclaimed and the new owners are debuting Wiedemann’s Special Lager Friday night. Swing by Pompilio’s, another Newport landmark, at 5 p.m. for a celebration and the inaugural keg-tapping at 5:30 p.m. Washington Park hasn’t even been open for a month and already it’s become a city hub, bringing tons of Cincinnatians and visitors together. On Friday, four of the city’s prominent performance organizations will also come together for a concert and show unlike any we’ve seen in the park thus far. The performance will include Cincinnati Ballet dancers, the Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati Opera soloists and the May Festival Chorus, with conductor John Morris Russell. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and get comfy on the Civic Lawn. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Hamilton County Park District has teamed up with edible Ohio Valley Magazine to present the first Ohio Valley Greenmarket, a weekend-long festival celebrating local eats and agriculture and healthy, sustainable food practices. Special events include a pig roast Friday at Winton Woods; a workshop and lecture on green floral design Saturday; and Sunday’s big greenmarket at Glenwood Gardens, featuring a farmers market, cooking and gardening demos, speakers and activities for kids. “Back to School” might have been out of your vocabulary for a few years, but there are local kids whose summers are coming to an end and they are still in need of adequate supplies. So, once again, PROJECTMILL presents Back to School_MF this Saturday. In addition to fun art installations and dance music, MFers are asked to bring donations for area students. Think standard school supplies like pencils, notebooks, markers, crayons, backpacks, and other goodies you couldn’t go without when you were in school. Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers optional. The free dance party is 10 p.m.-1:45 a.m. at Northside Tavern. Ongoing events this weekend include: the World’s Longest Yard Sale 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Sunday at MainStrasse Village; Glier’s Goettafest at Newport on the Levee every day through Sunday; more recommended arts, theater and event picks here. And be sure to stop by the square tonight for the MidPoint Indie Summer Series with Bear Hands, Lightning Love and Fort Lead, 7-11 p.m.!
 
 
by Jac Kern 03.16.2012
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 3/16-3/18

Althea Harper, Cincy Ballet's Rite of Spring, Millenicon, way too much green beer

DAAP grad and former Project Runway contestant Althea Harper is in town tonight, presenting a trunk show at OTR's Sloane Boutique. Check out the designer's Spring 2012 looks featuring her signature combination of fine tailoring and delicate draping. Sloane offers 15 percent off its spring merchandise and a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. Get details here.This weekend Cincinnati Ballet presents a production quite fitting, considering our weather – Rite of Spring. With Stravinsky's music performed live by the Cincinnati Orchestra, Rite of Spring is a “raw, grungy” piece that pits “individual against the group; it’s kind of timeless and universal,” as described by Resident Choreographer Adam Hougland. There is an 8 p.m. performance tonight and 2 and 8 p.m. performances Saturday. Go here for ticket information and performance details.Millenicon is a literature-based sci-fi convention celebrating its 26th year in Cincinnati. This isn't your standard Trekkie symposium (though there's many programs for them!) – there's a variety of programming during the convention's run, including science fiction literature and fantasy subjects, science, space, technology, writing, art, costuming, collecting, gaming, children's programming, film and media interests. All are welcome to get their geek on at the longest-running sci-fi convention in the area. It all takes place tonight through Sunday, with programs occurring throughout the day, at the Holiday Inn Cincinnati - I-275 North in Sharonville.Concert:nova's Food + Music Festival comes to a close Sunday with Quartetto Italiano. The festival, which featured food and music from France and Germany, wraps up with an Italian brunch at Via Vite prepared by Chef Christian Peitoso and string quartet music written by Italian composers Puccini, Verdi and Nino Rota. The event takes place at noon and is $55 ($35 for pass holders). Get tickets here.Of course, there are endless St. Patrick's Day events also happening this weekend. Find some of them (and a fun history of the holiday) here. You know the drill – nearly every bar and restaurant across town will celebrate in some capacity, even if it's just green Budweiser and that damn Dropkick Murphys song on repeat.46th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade steps off at noon downtown. The parade famously continues through rain, snow, or, perhaps this year, unseasonably warm weather. Hopefully the impending storms will hold off anyway. The route begins at Second and up Main Street, across Fifth and down Elm Street. Find details here.One suggestion is the Schmidlapp Event Lawn preview party running tonight through Sunday. The event lawn, located next to the Moerlein Lager House and Smale Park at The Banks, opens for the first time to the public for the holiday. Enjoy live dancers, pipers and bands, plenty of beer stands and a killer view of the riverfront. If you get hungry or crave some harder stuff (Jameson, anyone?) just hop inside the Lager House.If historically inaccurate holidays that celebrate stereotypes aren't your thing, check out The Art of Food, Merrily We Roll Along, A Day in Pompeii, tons of live music or any of our other To Do recommendations. Or just stay home and watch Always Sunny. No judgement.
 
 
by Jac Kern 03.12.2012
Posted In: Dance, Arts community, Classical music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Cincinnati Ballet Announces 2012-2013 Season

Cincinnati Ballet today announced its 49th season schedule. Dance fans can expect an array of popular classics and exciting premieres for 2012-2013. The season kicks off Sept. 6 and runs through April 27, 2013.The Kaplan New Works Series (Sept. 6-16, Cincinnati Ballet Center): This annual season opener celebrates new ideas and creative movement showcasing the female choreographer and focusing on local artists. This world premiere features dancers Amy Seiwert and Paige Cunningham, two SCPA alum, Director Heather Britt and choreographer Jessica Lang.Alice in Wonderland (Oct. 26-28, Music Hall): After its world premiere with Washington Ballet, Cincinnati will be the first to jump down the rabbit hole with Alice & Co. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will perform Matthew Pierce's original score. Choreographer Septime Webre (Cincinnati Ballet's Peter Pan) and costume designer Liz Vandal (Cirque du Soliel) will create a wild world for Alice to romp through that will ignite the senses of audiences.Frisch's Presents: The Nutcracker (Dec. 14-23, Aronoff Center): Victoria Morgan re-imagined the classic for 2011's world premiere, The New Nutcracker. This whimsical interpretation returns in 2012, complete with dancing cupcakes, flying bumblebees and a Sugar Plum Parade, where audience members will be invited to walk acrid stage and get a closer peek at the sets, costumes and dancers.Romeo & Juliet (Feb. 14-16, Aronoff Center): Just in time for Valentine's Day, Shakespeare's romantic tragedy comes to life in a new way. Victoria Morgan blends classical dance with contemporary movement to capture audiences' favorite moments. Prodigal Son with Extremely Close (March 22-23, Aronoff Center): Neo-classical choreographer George Balanchine comes to Cincinnati with his rendering of the classic parable about sin, redemption and unconditional love. On the same bill, Extremely Close is Alejandro Cerrudo’s thoughtful contemporary work. The performance opens on a stage of falling feathers, reflecting the delicacy and fluidity of movement, and connected throughout, punctuated by a surprising, thought-provoking ending.Ballet Toybox (March 24, Aronoff Center): Designed to introduce children and families to the joy of dance, this performance delivers a mix of classic and modern favorites. Clocking in at less than 60 minutes, this "mini-performance" is an easy and affordable way to enjoy the ballet with the whole family.Frampton & CB Come Alive (April 26-27, Aronoff Center): Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton will create a new work specifically for the performance and play live alongside choreography collaboration from Cincinnati Ballet and Exhale Dance Tribe.New subscriptions and subscription renewals are now available at the Cincinnati Ballet Center (1555 Central Pkwy., Over-the-Rhine) or by calling 513-621-5282. Individual tickets to the following shows will be available July 22 at cballet.org.
 
 

Carmen (Preview)

Cincinnati Ballet interpretation of classic adds fiery enthusiasm

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 8, 2012
At heart, Carmen is a sensual story of passion. Putting a daring new spin on one of the best-known and beloved stories of opera repertoire sounds like a tall order. But internationally renowned choreographer Amedeo Amodio is perfectly suited to create a contemporary-infused dance version. Expect fiery dancing filled with feeling and meaning.  

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