Saturday night a capacity crowd filled an Amphitheater brimming with anticipation for one of the summer’s key artistic events: an original inter-arts collaboration among Chautauqua’s major performing arts organizations exploring and presenting a brand-new composite version of Romeo and Juliet, conceived and directed with flair and skill by the Chautauqua Theater Company’s Vivienne Benesch. Despite some rain, busy performance schedules all around and the challenges of rehearsing and coordinating in such a busy venue a project involving 150 artists in the pit and onstage, the evening proved a triumph of vision and organization. The other Institutional artistic entities involved were the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Dance program and North Carolina Dance Theatre, Chautauqua Opera Company, the Chautauqua School of Music and — materializing up near the United Nations flag for a sexy entr’acte of Duke Ellington’s “Star Crossed Lovers,” with Scott Hartman the persuasive trombone soloist — a jazz ensemble from the Music School Festival Orchestra. Where else but Chautauqua could such a feat have been attempted, let alone brought off? Even The Juilliard School (to which many of the artists involved have ties) has neither the institutional structure nor an appropriate venue for preparing and presenting such an ambitious, large-scale venture.
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.
Just as Chautauqua has brought together different art forms this season for The Romeo & Juliet Project, one year ago, Chautauqua brought together North Carolina Dance Theatre dancers Anna Gerberich and Frederick (Pete) Leo Walker II.
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 1964, George Balanchine choreographed Tarantella featuring Patricia McBride, now North Carolina Dance Theatre associate artistic director, as the leading lady.
Almost 50 years later, Patricia McBride will restage Tarantella with NCDT dancers Emily Ramirez and Jordan Leeper performing the abstract pas de deux with tambourines in hand. The piece features music by Louis Gottschalk and arranged by Hershy Kay.
“It’s amazing what goes into making something effortless,” an old advertisement reads for Gaynor Minden, a pointe shoe and dance apparel company.
As Chautauqua Institution’s various artistic directors, professionals and students move into next week, it’s apparent they have one man on their mind — Shakespeare. [TEXT & SLIDESHOW]
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.
A sense of history dominated the latest pairing of North Carolina Dance Theatre and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra as they moved from the hills of Appalachia, certainly part and parcel of the surrounding area, to the faraway influences of the historical Russian ballet stage.
Wedding season in Chautauqua may be over, but everyone is invited as a young couple ties the knot on the Amphitheater stage this evening.
The North Carolina Dance Theatre in residence and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra will perform together at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.