Monday, August 15, 2011

Ballet Amore

I almost missed the Minnesota Fringe Festival this year. In fact, I only managed to see just one show – and it was this past Saturday's dance performance by the Cities’ Classical Dance Ensemble entitled Ballet Amore.

Created by dancer and choreographer Katherine Krieser, Ballet Amore certainly lived up to its claim of being a “celebration of the love, beauty and artistry of classical dance.” The troupe that comprises the Cities’ Classical Dance Ensemble performed seven diverse works of ballet, modern dance and classical jazz. What each work shared in common was a solid display of athleticism, beauty and, at times, humor. What more could you want from a dance performance?

I particularly enjoyed and appreciated the work entitled Prometheus (pictured in rehearsal at left and below). Created by former University of Minnesota and Ballet Arts Master Instructor Ronn Tice, Prometheus is described as “an elegant, modern day interpretation of the mythological tale of struggle between the titan Prometheus [Luke Tucker] and Zeus – king of the gods [Riley Thomas Weber ].” The work depicts “six seductive female dancers show[ing] sympathy to their champion Prometheus.” Yet they are “compelled by Zeus to inflict eternal imprisonment and torture upon him.”

Another highlight was Tucker’s solo performance in the work Les Bourgeois & Amsterdam. It was simply stunning. And the closing number, I Find No Peace, was such a work of exquisite beauty and grace that, once it was finished, I immediately wanted to experience it again.

Adding to the evening’s charm was the viola playing of the talented Laura De St. Croix, which accompanied a number of the works. At one point dancer Riley Thomas Weber also shared his skills as a musician, beautifully playing the cello.

Ballet Amore has received high praise from festival attendees. Following are just a few of the comments about the performance left on the Fringe Festival website.

A wonderful production-captivating from start to finish. An ever-changing variety and contrast of styles, attitudes, moods and emotions are offered via seven ambitious pieces. Join the dancers in feeling playful, fragile, daring, delicate, pensive, jaunty, sassy, sexy, thoughtful, sweet, strong, proud, bold, doubt, struggle and surrender. The closing number, I Find No Peace was particularly powerful and beautifully executed - on par w/ any production I've seen. Thoroughly entertaining, powerful and inspiring. Thank you Ballet Amore!

– Kathy Hart

What a terrific show this was! So many really talented dancers showing their stuff, and so much variety in about six short pieces- beginning with traditional ballet and going through more contemporary and jazzy. Two absolutely stunning solos pieces punctuated the whole show. As a Regular Citizen, I don't get to see much high-caliber dance. While these are all youths (20-30, I would guess), their talent is obvious. There should have been more solos, though, to give dancers a chance to change between pieces. Instead, they sent out some twirling toddlers to entertain us.

– Christian Ricci

Lovely classical dance combined with jazz, ballroom dance and live music. Highly professional and a very lovely program. I look forward to seeing this troupe again!

– Nannette Stearns

This show was a delight. Makes me want to explore more dance performance in the future. There's much talent in the Twin Cities. The show blends classical, modern and contemporary dance and music in a refreshing production. Being a jazz enthusiast, I was especially drawn to the jazz pieces, not ever having seen ballet to well known jazz tunes like "Such Sweet Thunder" by Duke Ellington among others. Kudos to the dancers, creator Katherine Krieser and choreographer Colleen Tague!

– Craig Lindy Hop

This show succeeds because it knows exactly what it is and pursues its goals and with determination. This may sound like an empty statement but there is something to be said for clarity of purpose. Here the focus is on well constructed choreography - cleanly danced and efficiently staged; eclectic in its offerings but without suffering a lack of direction. The Jazz piece by Colleen Tague stands out, very inventive and playful. Les Bourgeois and Amsterdam are well danced, with personality to match the clean technique. I Find No Peace was, simply, one of the most beautiful pieces of choreography I have ever seen - it deserves a long and celebrated life. An great performance that suggests a very promising future. See this show!!

– Ross Edwards

Above: Dancer Joe Bueno.

Below right: Dancer Amber Genetzky.

For my thoughts on the two Fringe Festival dance performances I saw last year, see:
Oh! What's This, Then?
Whimsical and Edgy

Recommended Off-site Link:
Cities' Classical Dance Ensemble

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Dancer and the Dance
The Premise of All Forms of Dance
The Church and Dance
The Trouble with the Male Dancer (Part 1)
The Trouble with the Male Dancer (Part 2)
The Trouble with the Male Dancer (Part 3)
Dark Matters
Reclaiming the Queer Artistic Heritage
The Lost Art of the Arioi
A Dance of Divine Light
The Soul of a Dancer

Images: Lauren Baker, Susan Bieniek, and CJ Standish.

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