Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
By Henry C. Mayer

A FRESH EXPERIENCE OF BEAUTY: Louisville Ballet Season

What follows is a reflection rather than an interpretation of what Charles D. Boulogne, O.P. calls "one of the universal signs of human relationship: the dance. It endures because it takes its origin in life itself. Not only that, in all latitudes and all times, it is a manifestation of the health happiness." My Friends The Senses, New York, 1953, pp. 174 175.

If this is true for the dance as a universal human experience, how much more is it true for ballet - the queen of the dance? The choreographer has put that marvel par excellence, the human body, at the service of art. "The dance is the incarnation of beauty and grace; here the mind no less than the senses, finds delight." No wonder that one of the great minds of the 13th century exclaims: "beauty is that which when seen, pleases!"

The 1998-1999 Louisville Ballet Season can give fresher and deeper meanings to that insight. It comes neither from the troubadours nor the author of Tristan and Isolde but from Thomas Aquinas, who was their contemporary.

In one way, this season opens when the ballet company, the US Postal Service and Madeline Abramson meet at the Ballet on September 17 to unveil the stamp and its replica on a banner. Stamp collectors will want to call the Ballet and/or the Kentucky Center of the Arts for more information how to obtain this stamp with its special cancellation.

October 1-3. Tales from Hans Christian Andersen "The Little Mermaid," "The Ice Maiden," "The Steadfast Tin Soldier." The first of these performances is a world premiere; both it and the second presentation are choreographed by Alun Jones. The third is a rare treat, choreographed by the immortal George Balanchine. The musical inspirations come from Tchaikovsky. Stravinsky and Bizet.

October 29-November 1. These performances salute the reopening of the renovated Brown Theatre. Bachiana,By contemporary David Parsons, integrates "glorious 18th century sounds" with innovative modern choreography. Elizabeth Koepper, a member of Parsons' ensemble, will be guest choreographer for repeat performances (by popular demand) of Sleep Study and The Envelope. Dedicated to its choreographer and deceased member of Louisville Ballet, there will be a performance of The Edge.

December 12-23. The Nutcracker. A community production with close to 100 parts for local children, four local children's choirs. Watch for more exciting announcements about this favorite production.

January 21-23: Two stunning productions: Carmina Burana choreographed by Louisville Ballet's Dale Brannon and Alun Jones, with music by near contemporary Carl Orff. The text comes from a 13th century reflecting the life of disavowed monastery clergy. The second presentation is Lucy, about a 3 1/2 foot skeleton whose discovery generated a whole new series of controversies about possible human ancestors. Louisville composer Shirl Jae Atwell provides the music.

Feb. 25-8: a stellar evening in three parts, Shades of Gershwin. This is choreographer William Soleau's magni­ficent tribute to an American genius of this century. This presentation makes use of some of Gershwin's most memorable songs. Recalling Broadway and Hollywood musicals of the 1930's, Alun Jones presents For Roberta. As finale, the company presents Gloria, choreographed by one of its members, Mikella Bruzina, using a score by Vivaldi.

April 22-24. With spring already here, audiences can revel in a "light and humorous" adaptation of Cervantes' immortal Don Quixote.

Louisville Music News welcomes Helen Daigle, Tom Fillebrown, Elena Filmore, Talia Fabyan and Anne-Marie Melendez to the company and felicitates Mikella Bruzina on her promotion to soloist. It is with gladness that we learn Helen Starr's recent surgery was successful!