Sunday, July 13, 2003

Irish dance alive and flinging at cultural club's June 29 festival

Dance notes

By Carol Norris
Enquirer contributor

"Irish dance on the way out? I don't think so," JoAnn Buck says. With 1,300 competitors at the Cincinnati Irish Cultural Society's 20th anniversary feis June 29, there are no signs interest is waning. Dancers had to be turned away.

"Because it was our 20th anniversary we decided to do some special things," Buck says. "We had a Scottish bag piper to play Irish music and a parade of Irish dancing styles through the years.

"This is something Cincinnati should be proud of. A lot of people from all over the country come - and stay here. With Mary McGing the brains behind it and her wonderful crew, it's one of the most efficient and well-run feis in the country."

Awards were given in five categories. Ten stages, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, pulsed with activity as young competitors made the rounds while judges watched and scored.

"We've seen over 140,000 dancers over the years," Buck says. "Irish dancers never leave. They have kids and bring them back. At 1,300 competitors, we set a record this year. We'll keep it at that limit - that's all we have room for."

Ballet competition

While the Irish were vying for awards here, ballet dancers were competing for gold, silver and bronze at the New York International Ballet Competition at Alice Tully Hall. Forty-eight dancers, ages 17-24 from 24 countries, spent three weeks in classes and coaching sessions to learn three pas de deux to perform for the judges.

Although Cincinnati Ballet dancers didn't bring home any medals, Indianapolis' Ballet Internationale (Eldar Aliev, director) brought home two: Ogulcan Borova (principal) won a gold and Alexei Agoudine (corps) a bronze.

The competition is tough and the judging can be brutal - no women were awarded gold. Future competitors take note: The event has been held every three years, but that will change to every two years beginning in 2005.

Expanding resume

Expanding further into the professional dance world, ballet tech ohio - a pre-professional school and arts organization run by Claudia Rudolf Barrett - has added "presenter" to its resume.

The 2003-2004 season will include two performances of studio dancers with professionals from the area, the gala of international ballet stars and a visit by New York's Complexions Dance Company.

Complexions, run by two of the dance world's major hotties - Dwight Rhoden, formerly of Dayton, and Desmond Richardson - is ballet tech's first guest company.

Season series:

Sept. 12-13 - The Little Prince, Aronoff's Jarson-Kaplan Theater, with choreography by former Richmond (Va.) Ballet's Brandon Becker.

Feb. 29 - Complexions, Aronoff's Procter & Gamble Hall.

May 21-22 - Shall We Dance?, Jarson-Kaplan Theater, with choreography by Barrett.

Aug. 14 - Gala of International Ballet Stars, Procter & Gamble Hall.

Subscriptions: $82-$130, CAA Box Office, 650 Walnut St., downtown. Single tickets: 241-7469; ballet tech ohio: 683-6860.

'Prince' auditions

Ballet tech ohio's production of The Little Prince needs a few little dancers. Auditions are scheduled 11 a.m.-noon July 26, for ages 5 and up at 7623 Old 3C Highway, Maineville. Rehearsals will run through Aug. 9; 683-6860.

Healing workshop

Fanchon Shur expands her "Healing Through the Art of Dance" program with a workshop July 25-27 at the Four Points Sheraton (Kenwood Mall area). The workshop is part of Four Winds Academy's Summer Residential Program. 221-3222 or



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