Sunday, May 30, 2004

Ballet ends 'very good year'


Dance notes

By Kathy Valin
Enquirer contributor

Cincinnati Ballet's season ended on a festive note with The Princess and the Pea, staged as a tribute to Carmon DeLeone, the company's music director for 35 years.

The April 30 performance showcased lighthearted dancing to a selection of DeLeone's many ballet scores and the world premiere of his all-orchestral melange, "Fanfare, Funk and Fandango (An American Dance Set)."

The season was the seventh for artistic director Victoria Morgan, whose choreography for Prokofiev's dramatic score of Romeo and Juliet contributed to a rare Saturday night sellout and a record breaking $200,000 in box office on Valentine's Day weekend. The year's biggest draws were the local holiday performances of the Nutcracker, which brought in $767,000.

It was a very good year, according to the marketing director Jeff Syroney.

"We had over 53,000 patrons at the Aronoff Center, and raised about $1.4 million in earned revenue, representing nearly half the company's budget," he says.

The figure does not include revenue from the company's Nutcracker tours to Anchorage, Alaska, and Detroit.

His theory about Nutcracker's success? "We advertised earlier and presented more matinees this year."

Big plans for new space

Cincinnati Ballet breaks ground on a new performance studio with a celebration, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 24. A ceremony on the site of the future studio (currently the Ballet Center's existing parking lot at its Liberty and Central Parkway location) is planned, with participation from the Over-the-Rhine community, city officials, major funders and ballet supporters.

TA Beilharz Architect's expansion plan includes a state-of-the-art rehearsal studio that doubles as a 250-seat intimate performance space. Dramatic curves and a new translucent Central Parkway facade will add pizazz to the 8,000 square-foot expansion.

Completion is scheduled by the company's 2005 "Come Together Festival," which will take place in the new theater. The intimate atmosphere will make the dancing close up and real for audiences.

Information: 621-5219.

Locals shine onstage

Eight local choreographers will present their work at Contemporary Dance Theater's "Choreographers Without Companies" concert June 11 and 12. Traditionally held as the last event of CDT's season, this year the concert features both cutting-edge new works and reconstructions.

Judith Mikita's cast of seven will dance to live music from Samuel Barber's "Summer Music for Wind Quintet." Mikita has aimed to choreograph movement in which dancers match "in skill, beauty and humor" the musicians' "delightfully difficult" task.

Other choreographers are Ashli Eiseman, Jeri Gatch, Diane Germaine, Jason Hatcher, Susan Moser, Carrie Rohman and Cheryl Wallace.

Performances are at 8:30 p.m., at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Tickets are $18-22, at the Aronoff Center Box Office, 621-2787 or at www.cdt-dance.org.

Gala returns for third year

Ballet tech ohio performing arts association's third "Gala of International Stars," returns to both Cincinnati and Columbus this year.

For two years now, under executive producer Marvel Gentry Davis, this show has brought some of the best dancers and choreography from around the world.

Yet to be announced principals from Gerard Charles' BalletMet will be joined by soloist phenom Gennadi Saveliev of American Ballet Theater in his third gala appearance. Others include Alonzo King's Lines Ballet, with Chiharu Shibata and Prince Credell; Columbus' Bridget Breiner of Stuttgart Ballet; Christopher Roman of Frankfurt Ballet; and Dance Theatre of Harlem principal dancers Donald Williams and Kellye Saunders, who drew cheers from Cincinnati audiences last year.

National Ballet of Canada sends Alexander Antonijevic and Sonia Rodriguez, in the "Balcony" pas de deux from John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. For the complete program, go to ballet tech ohio's Web site (www.ballettechohiopaa.org).

Choreographers range from the classic giants like Petipa and Vaganova, to contemporary talents like Cranko, William Forsythe and James Kudelka. Exciting new choreographers Krzyxztof Pastor and William Dean are also represented.

The Columbus performance is 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Ohio Theater. Tickets: $25-$75, (614) 469-0939 or boxoffice@balletmet.org. The Cincinnati show is 8 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Aronoff Center's Procter & Gamble Hall. Tickets: $25-$75, 621-2787 or www.ballet techohiopaa.org.

E-mail: valinkat2@aol.com




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