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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student

arts jacobs school of music

Best of both worlds

'Old World New World' showcases decades of ballet style

Cold wind rushed against the walls of the Musical Arts Center Tuesday night as IU Ballet Theater dancers rehearsed for their upcoming show “Old World New World” this Friday and Saturday.

Sitting backstage in a vibrant, makeup-filled dressing room Tuesday was senior Gabriela Johnson. She said it is a good feeling to be onstage and perform something on which she has spent weeks working diligently.

“Performance is my favorite part of ballet,” she said.

Johnson said performing on stage is initially nerve-racking because unlike in her mirrored practice room, the MAC stage is pitch-black.

“You can’t see yourself,” Johnson said. “And all you have is the music and yourself on stage.”

This year’s spring performance will combine two eras of dance into one cohesive show featuring the choreography of August Bournonville and George Balanchine.  

Michael Vernon, the chair for the Jacobs School of Music’s ballet program, said he chose the two choreographers because he wanted to show how while ballet changes across eras, there are similarities in any dance routine.

Friday and Saturday’s performances will feature three different styles of dance, Vernon said. All of them are contrasting, she said, much like the bright, bold colors of the dancers’ skirts when they are dancing onstage.

“I did it because it’s so interesting,” he said. “Ballet is so different.”

The show will feature the “world’s oldest known classical ballet choreography,” Vernon said in a press release, the routine coming from Bournonville’s “Bournonville Suite.”  

“Bournonville is very old-school,” Johnson said. “It’s much different than Balanchine.”
Symbolically skipping through decades of time, the show will continue with “The Four Temperaments,” a ballet that premiered in 1946, revolving around the four temperaments of the body: melancholic, sanguinic, phlegmatic and choleric. This will be followed by an old American-themed routine named “Western Symphony”.

“Western Symphony is really upbeat,” Johnson said. “More of a social ballet.”

Audiences can expect a very diverse program, she said, along with lots of hard work and passionate people. Minutes before Johnson was called back to the rehearsal stage between wardrobe changes, Johnson admitted this weekend’s show would be her last performance at IU.

“It’s bittersweet for me,” she said. “I’m gonna be really sad to finish this program for sure.”

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