Dig Baton Rouge

Ballet to the Extreme

By Katie Andress

BalletX_1The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre is kicking off its 2015-2016 professional performance ballet season with special performances by Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, BalletX, on September 30 and October 1. As a company, BalletX sets out to bridge the gap between classical and contemporary ballet, using new and outstanding choreography with technical precision and skill. This group of 10 dancers consistently challenges the public’s beliefs about what ballet truly is and what it can be by creating innovative works of art that are relatable to any audience.

“Expect to be surprised, excited and moved in many different ways than you ever expected,” said co-founder and Artistic & Executive Director of Balletx Christine Cox. “The repertoire that the company performs is really accessible, very poignant and really great examples of contemporary ballet.”

According to Cox, this performance is a diverse program that audiences of all ages will love.

“It is silly in the beginning, with dancers dancing in bare feet; then moving on to slippers; then to point shoes,” said Cox.

This group of dancers breaks stereotypical boundaries of ballet with not only grace and style, but sheer athleticism. These dancers hope to expose their audience to a fresh look at classical ballet. BalletX not only uses classic ballet techniques but brings forth new and exciting works that express complex feelings and moods.

“They’re a very unique blend of really classically trained ballet dancers doing contemporary movement that’s really original and new, which is an exciting combination for our Baton Rouge audience to see,” said Development and Communications Director for the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre Christy Benoit.

BalletX is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a four series, seven world premiere season, with works by world-renowned choreographers Nicolo Fonte, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan and Kevin O’Day. This innovative company is also doing 10 pop-up performances in and around the Philadelphia area as part of their outreach program, Dance eXchange, which is currently offered as an in-school program, reaching 200 children across Philadelphia.

“It’s important to connect our passion and love for dance to all different ages and groups of people. When you develop a strong program, it gives you a real backbone and outline of how you want to communicate with students and even adults,” said Cox.

BalletX remains committed to engaging the community in dance. From The X-Process to eXpand and eXperience, BalletX has created programs that offer on interactive lectures, artist conversations and more. The eXpand and eXperience programs were funded by a grant from the Knight Arts Challenge, a program of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with matching support from Wells Fargo. These groups recognized the importance of BalletX’s outreach mission and goals.

To further their outreach efforts, dancers from BalletX are conducting two public masterclasses and a lecture-demonstration for students at the Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts on Wednesday, Sept. 30. These classes are to be held at the Dancer’s Workshop and are for ages 11 and up. Preregistration is encouraged. Their one-night only performance will be held Thursday, Oct. 1 at the River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, downtown. Tickets are $30 and are available for purchase at the River Center Box Office or through Ticketmaster. For more information, follow BalletX at balletx.org or their social media sites facebook.com/BalletX and balletx_philadelphia on Instagram.

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