Ballet brings beauty and awareness to Rider’s BLC theater

By Tara DeLorenzo

The American Repertory Ballet will be performing Douglas Martin’s Rite of Spring, a Stravinsky piece performed with a twist, focusing on women breaking through traditional male roles in society.

In a wave of twirls, leaps, and spins, The American Repertory Ballet (ARB) will be coming to Rider’s Bart Luedeke Center Theater (BLC) this weekend for Rep at Rider: American Repertory Ballet: Fall Kick-Off Performance.

With Rider’s rich history in the arts and its connection with the Princeton Ballet School, this show is a chance to draw awareness to the arts, and is important in increasing visibility of the arts, said Pam Mingle, one of the coordinators of the event. The show will include a multitude of dances, including Douglas Martin’s Rite of Spring.

“This ballet has been heralded by critics, and is a landmark dedication to the 100th anniversary of this seminal ballet,” said the event’s other coordinator and dance program director Kim Vaccaro.

Rite of Spring, a Stravinsky piece, which was composed and first performed in 1913, has been transformed with Martin’s choreography. It has been reworked to take place instead in the 1960s in an ad agency, according to Mingle. There, women try to take on traditional male roles, and the ballet deals with breaking the stereotypes.

Additionally, this fall kickoff performance will include Rider adjunct professor Mary Barton’s Five Men and a Concerto, Patrick Corbin’s Caress, and an excerpt from Martin’s new ballet Romeo and Juliet.

Prior to the ballet, the newly formed Rider Women’s Leadership Council, an organization comprised of alumnae looking to make an impact on students, will be meeting with Martin, the featured speaker of the evening. He will be discussing the theme of the performance. The meeting will take place in the Seminar Room in the Student Recreation Center (SRC) at 6 p.m. on Sept 20.

Douglas Martin will also be previewing an excerpt from his rendition of Romeo and Juliet.

Martin has been with ARB for eight years, according to his biography on Rider’s website. He danced under Dimitri Romanoff, who was a dancer, teacher and longtime ballet master with the American Ballet Theater, according to Martin studied further at the American Ballet Theater School in New York and later joined the Joffrey Ballet. He danced a diverse array of roles in ballets by choreographers Arpino, Cranko, Balanchine, Joffrey and Taylor, and has also created many full-length ballets himself as a choreographer.

“Performances like this put Rider on the map with other colleges who produce wonderful art events,” Vaccaro said. “We bring them here so our students get to experience all of what it means to be a classical contemporary professional dancer in the 21st century.”

This type of opportunity allows the students the chance to work with professionals, learn about what it is like backstage and experience the dance program more in-depth.

“As a dance major, I feel as though having the ARB come to Rider so often is a great experience for myself and the rest of the dance department,” said junior elementary education and dance major Ashley Miller. “We get to help them prepare for their shows, watch them perform live, and have a lecture demonstration with the company where we can learn directly from them and ask any questions we might have.”

Rider dance majors have been able to take classes at the Princeton Ballet School for the past 10 years. This unique relationship has made performances such as this possible.

These shows not only allow for an experience for the audience, but they truly give back to the dancers.

“Having such a well-known company come to Rider so often gives us a great networking opportunity,” Miller said. “It really helps us stand out from other schools.”


Printed in the 9/18/13 edition. 

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