Dig Baton Rouge

Shall we dance?

By Tara Bennett

 

The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre (BRBT) will be closing its 2014-2015 season with their annual spring concert, Beyond Ballet. It’s an apt title for the mixed-bill concert appearing this Friday at the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, as the troupe of dancers will present a range of classical, neoclassical, and contemporary works.

“It’ll be a varied and interesting performance,” said BRBT’s Development and Communications Director Christy Benoit. “You get a little taste of a lot of different styles and a lot of different choreographers. Everyone has their own unique perspective so it’s kind of interesting to see a little bit from a lot of different artists. I think that’s a really neat thing we do with the spring concert.”

Instead of one long story ballet in the styles of The Nutcracker or Swan Lake, the concert will present six pieces by different choreographers throughout the evening, which explore the different ranges and styles that fall under the art of ballet.

“This performance kind of goes beyond the boundaries of classical ballet and explores what other ballet there is besides that really traditional ballet people think about,” said Benoit. “There’s a lot more to ballet and we kind of explore that in this show.”

Among the pieces is “Stirrings,” which is a new work by international dancer-choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen, described as “really sharp and hard-hitting.”

“[Stirrings is] very athletic, so it’s kind of a 180 from the really graceful and delicate pieces,” said Benoit.

Along with “Stirrings” is the contemporary piece “Avalon,” created by Martha Graham Dance Company’s Blakeley White-McGuire. Another contemporary work will be an original pas de deux by BRBT Company Member, Ketreon Butler, titled “Yearn.” “Yearn” was selected to appear in the Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase at the 2015 Regional Dance America – Southwest Festival, which earned Butler a full-scholarship to attend the National Choreography Intensive this July. Along with “Avalon,” this will be the first time these pieces will be performed in Baton Rouge.

“We’re excited to…show the great local talent we have,” said Benoit.

The production will also feature the works of local choreographers, Jonna Cox, Mina Estrada, and Susan Perlis. Special guest appearances include Louisville Ballet company members, Helen Daigle and Brandon Ragland. The production will also showcase the local talent of the Company and Ensemble dancers, BRBT’s newest contemporary dance troupe formed earlier this season, with a piece choreographed by Estrada.

“This will be their first performance in Baton Rouge and we’re excited to see what they have to perform,” said Benoit, who explained this concert will be an exciting end to BRBT’s season with its mix of local talent.

“The really great thing about this show is how showcases the incredible dance talent we have here in Baton Rouge,” said Benoit. “There’s so much talent here and this show really celebrates this. I think it’s a great way to show what our city has to offer.”

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 with a special rate of $20 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, the River Center Box Office or by calling BRBT at 225-766-8379. Ticketmaster is the only authorized online ticket retailer for BRBT performances.

For more information about Beyond Ballet contact Benoit at 225-766-8379.

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