‘Siècle de Ballet’ opens at NIU School of Theatre and Dance April 26

Online Staff Report

DEKALB, Ill. — The precision of classical ballet meets the fluidity of contemporary dance in the final 2012-2013 season production by the Northern Illinois University (NIU) School of Theatre and Dance (SoTD).

NIU SoTD will present Siècle de Ballet April 26-29 in the Stevens Building O’Connell Theatre.

Siècle de Ballet, French for “a hundred years of ballet,” showcases dance’s transformation by contrasting classic and modern ballets.

Performed first, the classical ballet, Raymonda, presents a romantic storyline about a woman attempting to reunite with her lover. This piece, presented in excerpts, is restaged by NIU faculty Judith Chitwood from the original choreography by Marius Petipa, famed for his iconic ballets The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

The second more modern ballet is Sunrise in the Quantum, which also explores love and beauty, but in a more abstract way. Brian Carey Chung, the show’s choreographer and director, describes a scene in which butterflies drift over a devastated landscape. “The butterflies are lovers,” Chung said, explaining his desire to show beauty in unexpected places.

Raymonda presents everything expected in a traditional ballet, from tutus to pointe dancers and partnering. Each dancer’s form is aesthetically beautiful and exact, according to Chung, with an emphasis on clear, sculpted lines.

Form and movement in Sunrise in the Quantum, however, draw inspiration from natural components, like molecules and animals. For example, Chung compares unison in his piece to that of a school of fish or flock of geese. While the geese are not strictly identical, they all move with an organic regularity, he said.

Mary Bajek, a dancer in both pieces, said the show provides a way to experience two very different, but related, visions of ballet. “You get a taste of both the classical and the more contemporary ballet forms,” Bajek said.

Siècle de Ballet will run April 26-29 in the Stevens Building O’Connell Theatre on the DeKalb campus. Weeknight and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students.

Tickets and additional information for Siècle de Ballet are available through the SoTD box office, open noon-5 p.m., Monday-Thursday, or online at www.niu.edu/theatre. Contact the box office at (815)753-1600.

Posted April 25, 2012

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