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Jacobs School of Music Ballet Theater to reach Bloomington community with ‘Twilight Turnout’

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For many, May is a month of letting one's hair down and taking a break. But for some of the dancers in the Jacobs Ballet Theater department, the month of May means an extra month of classes — an extra month of rigorous dance practice and tight Balanchine buns — all culminating in a performance showcasing the various pieces learned throughout May. 

The “Twilight Turnout” will be performed at 6:30 p.m. on June 3 at the Musical Arts Center and is open to the Bloomington community with free admission. 

“Twilight Turnout” will reflect the work put in by the students of the ballet department who signed up for the extra month of classes. Rising sophomore Lauren Batterbee jumped at the chance to bond more with her fellow dancers over May as well as receive more personalized training.  

“It’s both more relaxed and more one-on-one,” Batterbee said. “There are less of us so it’s nice to have more attention and focus on things other than just technique.” 

Throughout May, the dancers practiced the pieces they would perform on June 3 alongside more intimate technique classes. The performance will feature “Dance is…,” “Divert” by Sally Streets, an excerpt of “Jewels” from “Sleeping Beauty,” an excerpt of “Weight of Darkness” by Sasha Janes and “Anything Goes to Cole Porter” by Sarah Wroth and Christian Claesser. 

Batterbee felt the pieces selected were unique enough in their presentation to bring new audiences in and show them a different side of ballet that they may not be familiar with. 

“It’s a different style,” Batterbee said. “It’s still ballet but it’s more upbeat and almost jazzy.” 

To promote the performance, the dancers of the ballet department performed select excerpts from the “Twilight Turnout” repertoire at the Bloomington Farmers Market on May 20. Rising junior Indiana Coté danced at the Farmers Market and described the experience as an energizing one. 

“That’s the best part of it, seeing the reaction on people’s faces when you dance,” Coté said. “A lot of people don’t see ballet so it’s fun to see them see dance close up.” 

Bringing the community to the Musical Arts Center for the “Twilight Turnout” is one of the main goals for the ballet department. Coté saw the different pieces and shorter runtime as one of the many draws for people. 

“Performances like these that are free and also an hour long are very digestible for people who don’t necessarily watch dance a lot,” Coté said. “There are many different pieces, so you’ll see someone in a tutu and leotard and then someone in black doing something more contemporary.” 

With pieces ranging from the more classical to the more contemporary side of dance, rising sophomore Maya Jackson saw it as a unique opportunity for audiences to see a little bit of everything in the world of ballet. 

“I feel — especially if people who aren’t used to seeing ballet are coming to see this performance — they’re going to leave with a little bit of everything from the dance world,” Jackson said. 

The Jacobs Ballet Theater Department will return to the Musical Arts Stage during the regular performing year with “Fall Ballet” premiering October 6.

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