IU Opera and Ballet Theater's fall ballet, "Dances for Two," showcases partner work


Nicholas Gray and Georgia Dalton dance in "Dances for Two."  The ballet will play at the Musical Arts Center on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Marlie Bruns Buy Photos

After weeks of preparation, ballet dancers jumped, spun and performed in pairs during a performance of IU’s Fall Ballet “Dances for Two” on Friday. The ballet was performed Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 in the Musical Arts Center to showcase dancers from the Jacobs School of Music. 

“I’m really looking forward to the showcase of all of the hard work that these dancers have put in, as well as the incredible range of expressive talent that we have here,” visiting associate professor Sarah Wroth said before the show.

All of the dance pieces performed in the show were pas de deuxs, or ballets with partnered dancing. 

There are many moments during which you can exchange glances with your partner and feed off his or her energy, freshman ballet dancer Sam Epstein said. 

“There is something special about seeing a connection between two dancers on a stage,” Epstein said. 

The fall ballet was a collection of five separate, yet connected pieces.

“Valse-Fantaisie,” a piece from choreographer George Balanchine, opened the show. The music was light, fast and cheery. 

Epstein said the entire piece was like a race because it involved a lot of leaps, turns and arm movements.

“‘Valse-Fantaisie' is eight or so minutes of energy,” Epstein said. “There’s a lot of motion and emotion.”

“Flower Festival in Genzano" was the next ballet.

“‘Flower Festival in Genzano,' is by August Bournonville, and it’s the earliest dating ballet that we are performing,” Worth said. 

The style is focused on small arms, angles of the head and neck, and has lots of jumping, Worth said.

The third piece performed, “Sketches from Grace,” was choreographed by Sahsa Janes, according to the event program. 

It was audience member Chloe Shook’s favorite piece favorite piece. Shook, 15, said she has been attending IU ballets throughout her childhood.

Shook said the ballet was usually more classical, and in the fall ballet, the dancers incorporated a more modern style.

After “Sketches from Grace”, there was a short intermission, followed by another Sasha Janes ballet, “Lacisa la Spina, Colgi la Rosa.”

Soprano singer Therese Pirçon sang as two ballet dancers performed.

This ballet portrayed the show’s theme of connection and love when it ended as rose petals fell from the ceiling.

The last ballet of “Dances for Two” was “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz” by Jerome Robbins. 

For this piece, the dancers wore sneakers instead of traditional dance shoes, and bright-colored sweaters. It was a group dance, with many moments of partnering between different pairs of dancers. 

Partnering takes a lot of control and practice, Epstein said. 

“I think partnering is challenging because it’s a partnership and you have to care for the other person and make sure that they look their best," he said. 

The Fall Ballet is only the beginning of a busy school year for the ballet performers, which will also include a performance of "The Nutcracker" in December. 

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