Even though the Charlotte Ballet dancers have taken their final bows of the season, they are still on the grounds in spirit at the Chautauqua Dance Circle’s final “Views on Pointe” lecture at 3:30 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ.
Jim Dakin, treasurer of the CDC, will present three videos of pieces performed by the Charlotte Ballet and lead a discussion of the ballets after the presentation. Dakin first became interested in dance in 1975 when he and his wife, Karen, moved to Schenectady, New York, and saw the New York City Ballet. He often saw Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride dance, and he continued to follow dance as they began the School of Dance in Chautauqua. He said his appreciation for dance grows each year that he sees the Charlotte Ballet and dance students perform in Chautauqua.
Dakin has been doing video presentations for the CDC lecture in Week Eight for the past three years, but this is the first year that videos from the Charlotte Ballet will be shown.
He will present three video excerpts during the lecture: “Danses Brillantes,” choreographed by Bonnefoux, president and artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet; “Angels in the Architecture,” choreographed by Mark Godden; and “We Dance Through Life,” choreographed by Sasha Janes, associate artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet.
“The idea is to extend the Charlotte Ballet presence a bit further into the season,” Dakin said.
Charlotte Ballet performed “Danses Brillantes” during Week Three with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. The piece uses classical vocabulary and costumes, the female dancers each in different pastel- colored tutus. Bonnefoux said the piece, with music by Edouard Lalo, combines the best of what he learned from his time dancing both with George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet and at the Paris Opera Ballet
Godden’s inspiration for his contemporary piece “Angels in the Architecture,” stemmed from a fascination with the Shaker lifestyle and ideology. The Shakers had the philosophy that an individual could express themselves in any way they were compelled to despite what the community as a whole deemed acceptable. Godden related this concept to his experience growing up as a dancer.
“As dancers, we lived in a very structured world with many rules, and yet we were always striving for our own personal individual expression,” Godden said in an interview with the Charlotte Ballet.
The piece is not meant to be a re-creation of the Shaker community; instead, Godden hoped the choreography would convey more abstract depiction of the Shakers’ spirit, Godden said.
Janes’ “We Danced Through Life” holds a special place in the hearts of the CDC. Chautauquan Terrie Hauck commissioned the piece in 2014 in memory of her husband, Jimmy. The Haucks were very active in the CDC for many years, Dakin said.
“I wanted to do something to memorialize him, to keep his spirit alive,” Hauck said in an article last summer in The Chautauquan Daily. “A lot of people do benches, or stones or gardens — but that just wasn’t reflective of him at all.”
The contemporary ballet piece, choreographed to Antonín Dvořák’s “New World Symphony,” is a celebration of life and happiness. Parts of the ballet were performed at Chautauqua in 2014, but the piece wasn’t performed in full until Feb. 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“There is a strong Chautauqua connection for that piece in particular,” Dakin said.
The CDC chose these pieces because of their varying styles and the dramatic lighting that audiences don’t usually get to see during performances at the Amp, he said.
“One of the pieces is very classical, one is very modern, and the other is halfway in between,” Dakin said. “It’s an interesting study in contrast.”
Bonnefoux will also be in attendance at the lecture to answer questions from audience members regarding the pieces.
“It’s a nice opportunity for the Week Eight people to see some dance,” Dakin said.