This past weekend (October 11 and 12, 2013) Verb Ballets had the opportunity to dance for the first time at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights. The title of the show was “Fresh Inventions” and featured selections and parts of selections being currently prepared and choreographed by members of the company. It was an evening of Tutus and combat fatigues, black leotards and black suits, the entire evening was one of exceptional dancing.
The evening began with “Brandenburg (2013)”. The music was by Johann Sebastian Bach (Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, in G Major, BWV 1048, 1). The dancers were costumed in traditional classical ballet costuming supplied by Richard Dickenson (Associate Director for Verb Ballets) and traditional classical ballet choreography was supplied by Brian Murphy. It was poetry in motion as the dancers floated seemingly without effort. It dazzled the senses and brought joy to the hearts of all those who were privileged to witness such a spectacle. This short piece is part of an entire selection of dances from the complete Brandenburg Concertos.
Next on the program was “The Raven (2013)” with music excerpt from “The Masque” by Shadowbox Live. The Choreographer is Stephen James and the work is part of an entire show titled “The Masque” that will be performed in its entirety on November 8, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. at the Breen Center. The entire show will be a collection of dances inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe with live rock musicians on stage with the dancers.
What followed was “My Own Journey (2013)” that was musically scored with popular Hebrew music and choreographed by Or Sagi-Woodson. The work is the story of Or and his journey of discovery that has taken him from Israel to the United States. It is poignant with deep feeling and was performed with great precision.
After a short intermission, the company returned to perform “Tacit Knowledge (2013)” with music by Steven Smith’s “String Quartet” played by musicians of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Although discordant in times in both sound and movement it none the less was an interesting work that was appreciated by the audience judging by the applause.
This brought another short intermission and the premiere piece of the evening “Warrior Project: Inspiration (2013)” which is choreographed by former Akron area dancer, Christian Dollwet (a 21 year Air Force veteran) who is founder of The Inspired Veteran Action Campaign. The work told the story of five wounded warriors who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Along with the dance work, there was a short video telling how the work came about.
While listening to music “snuck” on his iPod by his teenage daughter (Shelby), Christian became inspired to begin creating dance while in the base gym. The result was this piece as well as the exploration of how the arts can benefit those suffering from PDST. To say the least, the work is moving.
Through the interpretive moves of the various dancers you feel the effects of PDST not only from the point of view of the warriors but also the effect that it has on their loved ones, relations and fellow warriors. At the end the audience erupted in wildly enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation.
The work was divided into three movements: “April Flowers”, “I Am Not Broken” and “Foundation”. Christian is slated to return to work as a contract pilot for the Air Force. We wish him God Speed and a safe return so that we can see more of his talented choreography.
Future shows on the Verb Ballets Schedule include:
November 8, 2013
Breen Center for the Performing Arts
February 22, 2014
Breen Center for the Performing Arts
May 1 through 3, 2014
Cleveland Public Theatre
Verb Ballets ignites audience passion and participation in contemporary dance. Under the leadership of Director, Dr. Margaret Carlson, Verb strives to support and foster emerging talent, to present excellence in contemporary choreographers, and to revive and honor modern dance classics. The company strives to be a thought leader in cultivating dance appreciation and support through education and outreach programs. In growing audience appreciation for dance, Verb Ballets helps make northeast Ohio a national destination for the arts.
Verb Ballets’ season is made possible thanks to the generous support of: Akron Community Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation, Dominion, Findley Davies, Inc., The George Gund Foundation, The Laub Foundation, Lubrizol Foundation, The McGregor Foundation, Omnova Solution Foundation, The Ohio Arts Council and Shah Capital Management. Other sponsors include Baumgarten & Company, LLP, Cedar Hill Communications, FITWORKS, Lyons Fulfillment Services, WCLV, and WCPN/Ideastream. Individual sponsors include Millie L. Carlson, Chuck and Sandy Abookire, Jim Farley, Jeri Chaikin & Joel Newman, Chuck & Ann Ennis, Kenneth Milder, Fred Lautzenheiser, David R. Pierce & Philip Cucchiara, Robert M. Shwab and Members of the Verb Ballets Board of Trustees.