Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, 8 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral Spotlight Theatre, 1800 Seventh Avenue, Moline IL
On April 20 and 21, Ballet Quad Cities leaps, taps, spins, and pliés into spring with the dance vignettes of Defining Dance: Distrinctly Ballet Quad Cities, two evenings of mixed repertoire at Moline's new Spotlight Theatre (located in the Scottish Rite Cathedral) featuring brand-new pieces and audience favorites by choreographers Margaret King, Emily Kate Long, and the company's Artistic Director Courtney Lyon.
One of the returning pieces is King's “Rodeo,” which made its premiere during Ballet Quad Cities' Wild, Wild West in March of 2017. A musical narrative, as Lyon explains, “about a cowgirl making her way in the West, and sort of falling in love with the West,” the ensemble piece boasts music composed by the legendary Aaron Copland and original choreography by King, who has served as the company's Ballet Mistress since 2011.
King also choreographed the program's “Swingin' on the Moon,” a two-dancer vignette that premiered in 2015 but, as Lyon says, “hasn't really been seen in a big presentation. We've done it at fundraisers and other small events, but it's really, really entertaining, so we thought we'd finally bring it to a mainstage ballet.” Danced by Marie Buser and Alexander Kingma, this “short and sweet” work features music by the legendary Mel Tormé, and Lyon calls it “a really fun swing-dance piece.”
Joining this pair on the Distinctly Dance program is “On the Run,” a debuting group number by guest choreographger and former company member Emily Kate Long. Featuring music by Johann Strauss II, the piece, says Lyon, finds “all of the dancers in tennis shoes, and all of the movements based on athletic moves that you would do if you were working out at the gym. But it's then turned into this great big epic waltz to Strauss music.”
And Lyon contibutes her own Distinctly Dance pieces with “Dance 'Four' Piano'” and “No Limits, Just Edges.” The former is a work commissioned by Orchestra Iowa to accompany the April 14 and 15 Cedar Rapids performances by Grammy Award-winning pianist Emmanuel Ax. “It's a piano piece by (Antonín) Dvořák, and it's a piece for four hands, so I have four dancers performing,” with the 10-minute, piano-themed dance featuring the talents of Nicholas Garlo, Buser, Kingma, and guest artist Long.
“No Limits, Just Edges,” meanwhile, is a group piece that Lyon calls “a highlight reel – like the closing credits of a big dance musical where you just see all the dancers at the top of their game. They're in amazing shape, they're confident, and I really wanted the audience to appreciate the strength and versaility of this company's dancers.”
Defining Dance: Distinctly Ballet Quad Cities will be performed at the Scottish Rite Cathedral's Spotlight Theatre at 8 p.m. on April 20 and 21, tickets are $15-25, and more information and reservations are available by calling (309)786-3779 or visiting BalletQuadCities.com.