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POWER AUDITORIUM Ohio Ballet performs a tribute to Sept. 11



Published: Mon, January 31, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The company also gave a graceful rendition of 'Raymonda Variations.'

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Ohio Ballet began its third performance Saturday at Powers Auditorium to a small but enthusiastic crowd who braved the miserable weather to partake in a stunning presentation.

The first ballet was "Raymonda Variations," the wedding scene from the full-length ballet titled "Raymonda," music by Alexander Glazounov, transcribed and brilliantly performed on piano by music director David Fisher.

The dancers were dressed in shades of bronze, gold and peach tutus and tights, traditional costume for the late 1890s, when the ballet first premiered. Choreographed by renowned artist Cynthia Gregory, the celebration of a wedding was depicted. Eva Trapp and Toby George represented the bride and groom, dressed in creamy white. Energy and joy, fun and frolic, and even a bit of flirtatiousness abounded.

The leaps and spins of the four men in Scene 3 elicited whistles and shouts of "Bravo" from the audience. The groom performed a solo, executing masculine and high spirited leaps, followed by a graceful and coy solo by the bride. The full company ended the celebration with festive twirls, followed by an explosion of approval by the audience.

"Very awesome!" said Taylour Kaufman of Austintown, who attended with her friend Sara and Sara's mom, Debbie Hasely. "I am happy to expose the kids to this," said Hasely. "The rates are very affordable. I wish there had been more publicity." Both girls study dance with Judy Conti in Boardman.

"We live in Youngstown and have traveled to Akron and Cleveland to follow Ohio Ballet," said Gloria Jones. "We are so happy to have them here."

'Lost and Found'

The second ballet, "Lost and Found," was a stark contrast to the delicacy and grace of "Raymonda." Created by renowned and outstanding choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett, this ballet is a tribute to Sept. 11, 2001. Set to music by Robert Schumann, whose music is an expression of his own anguished and tortured life, this ballet depicts the gamut of emotions felt by all who witnessed this tragic event.

It began with the dancers, dressed in ordinary clothes, staring into the distance. One by one, the emotions began: pain, disbelief, fear, anger. The angular movements of their bodies said, "How could this be?" The scene then moved toward comforting, reaching out, attempts at solace. Dancer Alicia Pitts, subtly moved in and out of the scene, while her lover searched for her. She reappeared in a dreamlike sequence, only to leave the crowd in finality. This ballet was dedicated to the memory of Patricia Colodner.

'Rapturous Hearts'

The final ballet, "Rapturous Hearts," was choreographed by Ohio Ballet artistic director Jeffrey Graham Hughes, performed to recorded orchestral arrangements of several Puccini operas. Even though one of the dancers had injured himself and was unable to continue, the company adapted without missing a beat, in this romantic and sensual expression of love. The women were dressed in luscious deep-red glimmering costume. Each couple danced a different emotion: tenderness, passion, yearning, intimacy. The men lifted the ladies far off the ground in incredibly graceful feats of strength. The final scene ended to a standing ovation of an enthusiastic crowd.

Many of the evening's attendees were youths, but perhaps one of the youngest was Chloe Noel Housteau, who, at age 4, not only confidently spelled her own name, but announced that she wanted to be a ballet dancer when she grew up and was preparing for her second recital at Gina Cimmento's studio in Canfield. With continued support of Ohio Ballet, there will always be a place for budding dancers.




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