The premiere of ‘BalletMet at the Riffe I’ will treat an audience to a trio of cultural influences including square dancing, African rhythms and the Shaker lifestyle tonight.One part of the series titled ‘Trail of Broken Hearts’ is a two-stepping, square dancing performance choreographed to the sounds of k.d. lang. Susan Hadley, assistant professor of dance at Ohio State and founding member of the dance troupe Five Minds, sets her new work in a country western dance hall, with dancers wearing jeans and shorts instead of the more typical attire of unitards.’I’m interested in making dances that ordinary people can understand and experience,’ Hadley said.She said ballet hasn’t been all tutus and swans for quite awhile and that her piece reflects things going on in contemporary life.’These are versatile dancers who are able to do a number of styles,’ Hadley said. ‘They’re movers at heart.’Hadley said she was happy to have the opportunity to use lang’s music.’She’s a brilliant singer and I’ve been a fan of hers for many years,’ she said.’I’m hoping people who love her music will come,’ Hadley said. ‘I really see it as a tribute to her music.’The collection of lang’s songs come from her albums Angel with a Lariat and Absolute Torch and Twang.’Sometimes people are afraid of entering a place of contemporary art form because they’re afraid they won’t understand it,’ Hadley said. ‘I think this (performance) speaks to all of us.”The movements speak to you,’ said David Nixon, artistic director, ‘but you don’t have to understand them.”It (the show) doesn’t have the superstitions that people think,’ he said.’We’re able to keep going forward with the times by using up to date themes, music and movements,’ Nixon said.The BalletMetSetters will also be dancing in two other pieces in this performance, ‘Angels in the Architecture’ by Mark Godden, with music by Aaron Copland, and ‘Suite Mizike’ by Peter Pucci, with music by Zap Mama.’Angels in the Architecture’ was choreographed with the spirit of the Shakers in mind, using brooms and chairs not only as set pieces but also in the choreography.The dancers, dressed in costumes of ‘Shaker-wear’ in earthy tones, use movements dealing with the working day and farming of the earth, Nixon said. ‘It’s a real kind of Americana,’ he said. In ‘Suite Mizike,’ the dancers wear hand-painted unitards and the piece is inspired by the colors and rhythms of Africa, Nixon said.The music for this particular ballet is from Zap Mama’s recording ‘Adventures In Afropea I’ inspired by traditional African and European melodies.’All of the pieces are very new and of today,’ Nixon said.Since the theater is very intimate, Nixon said the audience members are more like participants, not just spectators.’They need to want to have some fun,’ he said.’BalletMet at the Riffe I’ will run through Nov. 2. The audience is invited to join the BalleMetSetters for an After Barre party on the Capitol Theater stage following the Nov. 1 performance.
June 19, 2019
June 18, 2019