Midwinter Dance Festival underway

KEVIN VOGEL | Arts Etc. Editor

The dance department’s annual Midwinter Dance Festival takes to a bigger stage tonight and this weekend.

This year marks the first time the festival will be held in the Schrott Center, which opened last spring.

The venue is also not the only part of the festival that has changed from previous years. The format is different as well.

This year, there will be two different programs, offering audience members the opportunity to see more works throughout the festival.

Both programs feature dance legend George Balanchine’s “Valse-Fantaisie” and Gustavo Ramirez Sansaro’s “En Camino,” but the works performed in between run the gamut of styles.

Many are world premieres choreographed by Butler University faculty.

“Because our department has grown, we have the opportunity to feature more dancers,” said Kate Webb, a sophomore dance major.

She said the dancers have been working on perfecting these works since the spring semester started.

Webb is dancing in “The Other Self,” a new work with choreography by resident choreographer Marek Cholewa.

She said being part of the creative process was very rewarding.

“(The work) is a part of us,” she said. “And we are a part of it.”

Another new work being premiered is Sansaro’s “En Camino,” created for the Butler Ballet on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Clowes Memorial Hall.

Before each performance, there will be a pre-show featuring costumes from the Ballet Russes, a hugely influential ballet company which premiered works like Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”

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The Ballet Russes was conceived by Serge Diaghilev.

Diaghilev eventually hired George Balanchine as ballet master of the Ballet Russe, and Balanchine was with the company for many years.

Balanchine has become respected as an influential innovator in the world of contemporary ballet.

Bringing this story back to Butler, assistant professor of dance Patrick Hinson worked with Balanchine as a member of the New York City Ballet.

Hinson also has choreography featured in the Midwinter Dance Festival.

“People (who attend) can see history walking all around them,” Webb said.

She also said the mixed bill is nice for people who are not as familiar with dance, as it features short works of varied styles.

Tickets to the performances cost $19 for adults, $8 for students and $13 for senior citizens.

“We’d be really happy if people came out and shared the experience with us,” Webb said.

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