As the crickets nestled among the tall grass and the waters lapped along the bank of the lake, Morihiko Nakahara walked along the trail and settled back into the ebb and flow of Chautauqua’s rhythm.
Chautauqua Dance’s student gala is like a buffet. It serves up a little taste of everything: a sweet smackerel of classical ballet, a fresh morsel of new choreography and a savory glimpse of student performers ranging all across the skill spectrum of dance.
Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived in a tree. She made her home high in the leafy canopy for two years, refusing to leave its branches out of fear that the tree would be cut down.
North Carolina Dance Theatre faced a limited rehearsal window on Monday, and it was moved back due to a conflicting rehearsal for this weekend’s upcoming Romeo & Juliet Project. Yet despite that, and a subsequent 20-degree temperature drop that changed the stage conditions, NDCT overcame all obstacles to deliver an emotionally charged “Evening of Pas de Deux” in the Amphitheater. [w/ SLIDESHOW]
The duet format may be part and parcel of the performing arts, from a theatrical dialogue to a concerto for two violins. But the duet occupies a special place in dance, where it is known as the pas de deux. In the classical vein, it is most often the pinnacle of a full-length ballet, as the leading dancers convey the culmination of a romance through movement.
A dozen red roses, a Swarovski diamond necklace, a box of gourmet chocolates. While these are all nice gifts, it’s hard to beat the man who had a ballet created especially for his wife, to commemorate the first time they met.
In the dancer’s lounge at the Carnahan-Jackson Dance Studio, photographs of legendary dancers and faculty members of Chautauqua Dance’s past and present line the walls. Maris Battaglia couldn’t help gravitating toward these pictures in a room filled with not only some of her idols, but also some of her greatest friends.
Ballet is a decidedly aristocratic art form, born in the courts of Europe and still, even today, laced with proper positions and bows. Major European ballet groups in Paris, London and Moscow each have precise stylistic proportions and repertoires that are embedded in the history of the art form.
So it is fun to watch how American companies have taken a formal and often staid dance format and given it their own twist, which local audiences can see in an open air, festival-like setting such as Chautauqua’s Amphitheater. However, they thankfully have not often had to deal with cool temperatures such as those seen at the surprisingly terrific — given the circumstances — final performance of North Carolina Dance Theatre and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, expertly conducted by Grant Cooper.
Together, festival students from the School of Music and the School of Dance will “Serenade” audiences at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.
Dancers will perform George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” restaged by répétiteur Patricia McBride, North Carolina Dance Theatre associate artistic director.
Musicians will accompany the ballet with Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, lead by guest conductor Stilian Kirov.
North Carolina Dance Theatre dancer David Morse is a triple threat, but his second and third talents aren’t singing and acting.
The dancer, pianist and choreographer will present his ballet “Concerto Grosso” in the Chautauqua School of Dance’s Student Gala at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater.
It will be his first ballet performed at Chautauqua.
Morse, who grew up dancing at NCDT’s school in Charlotte, N.C., started dancing when he was five.