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Kaleidoscopic Ballet

‘A Day in the Life’ and world premieres

Mar. 22, 2016
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John Lennon’s image of infinite change is the title of Milwaukee Ballet’s much anticipated spring program of contemporary ballet made for company dancers, Kaleidoscope Eyes. World premieres by choreographer-in-residence Timothy O’Donnell and 2015 Genesis winner Garrett Smith will share the bill with A Day in the Life, a 10-year-old work set to 12 Beatles’ songs revisited by one of America’s foremost contemporary ballet artists, Trey McIntyre.

O’Donnell’s The Sixth Sin considers envy. “I wanted to look at how celebrity culture, which has become a massive thing in the age of the Internet, affects people’s body images and lives, especially very young people,” O’Donnell says. “I learned that the number of children under 10 being hospitalized for eating disorders has gone up 120% since 1999. Through media and advertising, there’s so much pressure to attain the unattainable; we’re looking to be photo-shopped in real life. The piece starts with a little girl saying she wants to be beautiful like the girls in magazines. Then you see her grown up. She’s a model, she has everything she wanted but she isn’t taken seriously. This happens to men, too, although it’s kept in shadows.” 

Chairs are the addition in Garrett Smith’s Addendum. “I was sitting on this tiny chair at [artistic director] Michael Pink’s house and I started improvising,” Smith says. “I thought it would be fun to dance not just sitting on it but rolling with it, standing on it, connecting it to your body—all the possibilities. So there are nine dancers and everyone has a chair. I’m taking choreographic themes from my Genesis piece and adding chairs. And the dancers are so good. I’ve worked with New York City Ballet and I didn’t feel this sense of camaraderie. People here are much more open to the choreographic process and to things that are different.”

In 2007, Marc Petrocci understudied the central role in A Day in the Life when he spent that summer with McIntyre’s company but hasn’t performed it till now. “The piece has an arc of a day, a month, a year or 20 years in a life,” Petrocci says, “so my journey from young artist to experienced artist can be reflected through the way I dance this now. There are classical, modern, contemporary neoclassical, jazz and hip-hop concepts in it. Whatever feels right, he’ll use it. Dancing it makes you just feel alive.” Enjoy Hymn, created by McIntyre for Petrocci and Jonathan Powell, at treymcintyre.com/video/hymn.

March 31-April 3 at the Marcus Center. For tickets visit milwaukeeballet.org or call 414-902-2103.

DANCE HAPPENINGS: 

‘Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour’

Milwaukee Theatre

500 W. Kilbourn Ave.

7:30 p.m., March 30 and 31

After a four-year absence, Riverdance—named after the “River” theme from the company’s breakthrough appearance in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest—returns to North America with its 20th Anniversary World Tour, travelling coast to coast to perform in more than 60 cities, including Milwaukee. The updated production features new costumes, lighting and projections as well as the addition of a brand new a cappella hard-shoe number, “Anna Livia,” for female members of the Irish dance troupe. Since 1995, Riverdance has played 11,000 performances and travelled 700,000 miles to more than 467 venues worldwide throughout 46 countries. And it’s definitely a family affair, with 61 marriages between company members and 88 Riverdance babies born (with more on the way). For tickets to this show for all ages, call 800-745-3000 or visit milwaukeetheatre.com. (Amanda Sullivan)

Real Time

Danceworks Studio Theatre

1661 N. Water St.

8:30 p.m., Friday, April 1

Aerial dancer Andrea Burkholder staged the aerial scenes in a woman’s Place, Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s recent, acclaimed theater performance. On Friday, April 1, two of that show’s artists, CMP founding member Don Russell and Milwaukee actress Kathryn Cesarz who also performs with Quasimondo Milwaukee Physical Theatre, will join Andrea and her dancer/choreographer husband Daniel Burkholder, in the 12th episode of the couple’s monthly dance, aerial dance, music, improvisation and now theater exploration at Danceworks Studio Theatre. The event ends with complimentary wine and conversation. Cash-only tickets are pay-what-you-will at the door. (John Schneider)

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