Visiting artist brings American premiere

By Sarvary Koller | Assistant Arts Etc. Editor

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This year the Butler Ballet’s Midwinter Dance Festival features a performance that will be once in a lifetime for the Butler Community.

The commissioned piece is “Por Vos Muero” by noted Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.

Kevin Irving, Duato’s former ballet master, is staging the piece.

Irving said he doubts that this piece will ever be performed at another American university.

Born in Valencia, Spain, Duato started training professionally for the ballet at age 18, now 55-years-old, his pieces have been staged all over the world.

“His work is so popular, so there is a huge demand of staging of his work,” Irving said. “So I continue to work by his side.”

Irving said he also has a close relationship with Butler dance professor Derek Reid, and Reid is the reason that Irving brought one of Duato’s works to Butler.

“It’s because I live in the States and have this connection to a professor here that we were able to make it happen,” Irving said.  “I don’t see that happening ever again.”

Senior dance major Olivia Yoch will perform in the commissioned piece. She said Butler Ballet members are thrilled to perform a piece by Duato.

“We’re all very happy to have the opportunity to learn something like this,” Yoch said.

Yoch said Butler Ballet members are also elated at the opportunity to work with Irving.

“It’s just amazing to get to work with someone who’s so well known and in connection with a famous choreographer,” Yoch said. “Any contact with someone of his stature can only do good things for the department.”
Yoch said Irving is an excellent teacher and mentor to the dancers.

“He’s very exacting and demanding,” Yoch said. “You aren’t going to slack off and you want to get it right. Irving is always willing to work with the dancers on technique.”

In turn, Irving said he could not be more impressed with the dance students at Butler.

“I’ve been extremely pleased with how the dancers have responded to this piece and the practices,” Irving said. “I think it will turn out to be fantastic.”

Duato’s work is very intricate and detail-oriented, but Irving said the dancers are capturing the work’s intention well.

“Nacho’s work is very fluid, and it’s very linked to the music,” Irving said.  “It’s a projection back into the times of romanticism and chivalry and the dancers are doing an excellent job transporting it back to that time.”

The Midwinter Dance Festival is Feb. 17 and 18.

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