Sunday, March 23, 2003

Cincinnati Ballet's new season comes together

By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

Cincinnati Ballet is taking the creative approach during these tough financial times.

The 2003-04 season "carries our strengths, but it is a bit of a departure," explained executive director Alan R. Hills.

The company is dropping one of its five performances and replacing it with a guest visit by the Paul Taylor Dance Company of New York.

2003-04 SEASON
Aronoff Center for the Arts
Oct. 10-12: Jewels - "Diamonds," Tchaikovsky; "Rubies," Stravinsky; "Emeralds," Faure; choreography by George Balanchine
Nov. 7-8: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Feb. 13-15: Romeo & Juliet, Prokofiev; chor. Victoria Morgan
March 19-21: The Come Together Festival: Dwight Rhoden world premiere; "Amazed in Burning Dreams," Phillip Glass; chor. Kirk Peterson; "Seventh Symphony," Beethoven; chor. Leonine Massine, re-created by Frederic Franklin and Johanna Bernstein Wilt
April 30, May 1-2: "Where the Wild Things Are," Randall Woolf; chor. Septime Webre; tribute to Carmon DeLeone with ballet excerpts from repertory

Music Hall
Dec. 19-28: Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky; chor. Val Caniparoli
Tickets: Season subscription packages are available from $55-$275; renewals will be mailed after April 6. Single tickets $10-$55 will go on sale in the summer. 621-5282.
"I've been trying to get a Paul Taylor piece for the company, but right now we don't have the funds," said artistic director Victoria Morgan.

"Realistically the money is not there this year for five performances. We'd be stretched to do five, but it's something I'd like to get back to. We intend to maintain the integrity and quality of what we present, and this is a way to do it."

"We had a Nutcracker shortfall of $153,000 (20 percent off projections), so we had to go with a safe budget. We were looking at pulling $300,000 out of our cost base and the only way to do that was to not produce one program," Hills said.

Most mid-size companies do a three or four performance series plus Nutcracker, he said. "We're offering five without having to do five."

In cooperation with Cincinnati Arts Association, the popular modern Paul Taylor Dance Company will fill Cincinnati Ballet's November slot. This world-class company plays major cities on a regular basis.

The season is not lacking in substance in spite of budget pull-backs.

In addition to Jewels (see Page E1), Morgan's Romeo & Juliet will be performed with guest artists in the principal roles, including the legendary Frederic Franklin as Friar Laurence.

The fourth annual "Come Together Festival" again will be an evening of diverse one-act pieces: a new work, a local premiere and another look at Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Dwight Rhoden, who because of scheduling conflicts had to cancel for this season, is rescheduled to create a new work for the company.

Resident choreographer Kirk Peterson will restage his "Amazed in Burning Dreams" to the music of Phillip Glass in a local premiere for the festival.

The wildly popular Ballet Russe of this season will be revisited with a staging of Leonide Massine's "Seventh Symphony." The only thing missing will be the fourth movement, because there is nothing on film and no notations exist to support it, Morgan said.

Once again Franklin and Ballet Mistress Johanna Bernstein Wilt will go to 16 mm. footage of the 1938 work to restage the first three movements. No other company has re-created this ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet hopes to tour the entire Ballet Russe rep in a later season.

The season ends in the spring with Septime Webre's "Where the Wild Things Are."

"I don't want to give it away," Morgan said, "but the puppets are 15 feet tall. Septime's characterizations are hysterical."

Using characters created by Maurice Sendak, the entertaining work is very much in demand both for its humor and appeal to hard-core dance fans.

On the same program will be a tribute to Maestro Carmon DeLeone to celebrate his 35th year as music director of the company with excerpts from ballets he has written, including Peter Pan and Princess and the Pea.

Nutcracker will be back. Once again, the company will take it on tour to Anchorage, Alaska, and Detroit before playing in Cincinnati for a 13-performance run in December.

"Choosing a season is always a balance," said Morgan. "You've got to challenge the dancers classically, to keep us relevant on the contemporary side and to bring in a family opportunity. We think this season is a good balance of all these things."

Who do you like for Oscars?
Strong women may nab Oscars
Ballet begins with Balanchine jewel
Cincinnati Ballet's new season comes together
International ballet gala goes on the road
DEMALINE: The arts
Human rights experts view 'Just Man'

'Lion King's roar produces delight
'Midsummer' frolics but sells its soul short

Fans catch memories
Thermal hair straightening trend still warm
Lack of snow doesn't slow skiers
Get to it!

Cozy up to mac 'n' cheese
Serve it this week: SCALLOPS
Inland crab cakes surprisingly good