Tale of two dances

Friday, April 22, 2011

The calendar at the River Campus plainly shows the flexibility of the dance world.

The ballet set for April 29 at Bedell Performance Hall leaps -- toes pointed, of course -- far down the spectrum from Monday's "Aluminum Show."

In less than two weeks the stage hosts a modern, abstract dance performance and then one that showcases the grace and lines of classical ballet. And almost all of it was included in Southeast Missouri State University's student production of "Spring into Dance" two weeks ago.

The two touring shows represent such a stark contrast of dance styles it made me appreciate the art form even more.

When the dancers appeared Monday at "The Aluminum Show," I noticed their movements weren't in sync. Their legs didn't rise to the same height. Some put their foot down en pointe; others were flat or flexed. They were going through the same movements, but weren't paying attention to the same details.

Just as all that flashed through my head, I realized it shouldn't have been there. They weren't supposed to be doing those things. This was modern, interpretive. It was basal humanity next to industrial life.

The dancers had on beige costumes to establish the difference between the aluminum pieces in the show and the human performances in it.

They stomped and jumped and flipped. They incorporated grunts and shrieks and African dance movements. The show focused on action, movement and athleticism.

The ballet next week will also highlight the human performance, but in a much simpler way. The Russian National Ballet is one company that has held classical ballet to high esteem and held its dancers to even higher standards.

Classical ballet draws the eye to the lines the human body makes, not the noises. Their movements are fluid and graceful. It's about technique and form and dance for its own sake.

The show, while telling the classic story of "Romeo and Juliet," will focus on beauty, movement and athleticism.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: