Midwinter Dance Festival takes on Balanchine

Photo from Pixabay.

GABBY MOLINE | CULTURE EDITOR | gmoline@butler.edu

Butler ballet will host its Midwinter Dance Festival starting next Wednesday and going until Feb. 12. Midwinter showcases a variety of ballet styles, focusing more on contemporary and modern pieces.

There will be two different programs performed, but they will both end with choreographer George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments.

In order to perform one of Balanchine’s pieces, the dance department requested permission from The George Balanchine Trust, which then selected which pieces the Butler ballet could perform. Once The Four Temperaments was chosen, the Trust sent a representative to cast the piece.

Senior Hope Hagen was cast in the lead for The Four Temperaments.

“I’ve never done a Balanchine piece before,” Hagen said. “It’s been really exciting to learn a new aesthetic and style.”

Associate professor of dance Derek Reid helped rehearse the piece and prepare it for the stage.

“I know Four T’s well and it’s a strong piece,” Reid said.

The other pieces of the two programs will feature the classical work Paquita and new creations choreographed by the dance faculty.

Junior dancer Fiona Huber stars in Paquita, which features a gathering of dancers for a wedding.

“My favorite part in the piece is the adagio because it’s a little slower,” Huber said. “It’s nice to have everyone on stage at once and feel the connection of everyone focusing in.”

Reid said he has not seen the new pieces created by the faculty members, but he expects great things.

“I can’t say that I’ve ever been disappointed in the creations that the faculty puts together,” he said.

The dancers had just one month to rehearse for Midwinter. In comparison, rehearsals for the December Nutcracker performances began in September.

“It’s pretty grueling,” Huber said. “It’s a lot and can be stressful, but that’s what happens in a real company.”

Midwinter will be held in the Schrott Center, providing a smaller atmosphere than in Clowes Hall, where the Nutcracker and other performance are typically held. The location allows the audience to feel more connected to the dancers.

Hagen said the Midwinter audience members also feel a special connection to the program because of its variety and the way it challenges everyone involved.

“Our dance department is doing some really amazing things,” Hagen said.