Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Ballet Idaho to Mix Up Classical and Contemporary
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Idaho Ballet has staged a season performing everything from classical Balanchine to very contemporary pieces.
 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Dance lovers will be feted by a whirlwind of pirouettes, assembles, Arabesques and other moves when Ballet Idaho performs such varied pieces as the light-hearted yet poignant “Lickety Split” and selections from Prokofiev’s “Cinderella.”

Ballet Idaho will present “A Season of Ballet” featuring highlights from its just-ended 2018-19 season at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at The Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. Net proceeds from the performance will go to the Sun Valley Ballet School.

The gala event will follow Sun Valley Ballet’s spring showcase “Jeux D’Efants” at 1 p.m. that same afternoon, during which students will present pieces they learned this semester.

 
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Level one dancers with Sun Valley Ballet stop for a quick pose during rehearsal. PHOTO: Kat Thorp
 

“My Ballet Idaho dancers are easy and fun to watch,” said Ballet Idaho’s Artistic Director Garrett Anderson. “They do a lot more than execute the steps. A lot of times you see dancers who are technically proficient, but they don’t seem to share an experience with you. These dancers make you pay attention.”

Anderson, in his first season at the helm of Ballet Idaho, constructed a season featuring the work of in-demand choreographers from around the world. Among them, Danielle Rowe, who created “Dreamland,” a compelling journey into our subconscious inspired by an anxiety dream.

And he plans to showcase some of the audience favorites with nine of Ballet Idaho’s 18 dancers at Sunday’s performance in Ketchum. The show will offer a variety of performances from classical to very contemporary to showcase the breadth of Ballet Idaho’s program. Among the pieces:

  • “Lickety-Split,” set to the songs of folk singer Devandra Banhart and choreographed by Hubbard Street’s Alejandro Cerrudo.
  • Australian choreographer Craig Davidson’s energetic and innovative “Ambiguous Content,” which made its U.S. debut with Ballet Idaho.
  • Penny Saunders’ intricate duet in Berceuse set to Benjamin Godard’s “Berceuse,” or “Lullaby.” The dance explores the nuanced line between classical and contemporary movement, while zooming in on a relationship and all its twists and turns as it falls forward through time.
  • Excerpts from Balletmet Artistic Director Edward liang’s “Cinderella,” which Ballet Idaho staged May 3 and 4 at the Morrison Center, using rhythmic gymnastic ribbons to depict the wheels of Cinderella’s carriage.

Alexander Tressor, the artistic director of Sun Valley Ballet School, has also choreographed a piece titled “A Stroll in the Park,” utilizing music from American composer Leroy Anderson’s “Promenade,” which was first performed by the Boston Pops.

“Alexander Tressor has come to Boise several times this year to see our work. He just finished choreographing this piece and we rehearsed it with dancers over the weekend,” said Anderson. “He’s got great experience with a lot of variety so it’s fun to include his work. This one has got a Broadway sensibility—it’s very sweet.”

Anderson, 37, took over as artistic director of Ballet Idaho this year following the retirement of Peter Anastos, who had been at its helm for 10 years.

Anderson, who studied at San Francisco Ballet School and later with Pacific Northwest Ballet, joined the San Francisco Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet and in 2005 was promoted to soloist.

He and his wife—principal ballerina Courtney Wright Anderson--left in 2008 to join the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp, Belgium, with which they toured Europe and the world.

“We decided we wanted to try living in Europe and have that adventure and be able to go deeper into same choreography. In San Francisco always moving on to the next thing. There’s a different pacing in Europe, which allowed me to pursue more depth in my work. “

Anderson returned to the United States to dance with the Boise-based Trey McIntyre Project in 2011. He then joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, before becoming chair of the dance department at New Mexico School for the hearts.

He has since performed two seasons with SF Danceworks in San Francisco and been a guest artist with LED, Ballet Chicago, Civic Ballet of Chicago and Chicago Repertory Ballet. He even danced for nearly three straight hours in William Forsythe’s “Artifact”—a full evening of work in four acts.

Taking over at Ballet Idaho, which was founded in 1972, was a chance to return to a family-friendly community where he, Courtney and their children could bike and pursue other outdoor activities.

“Boise is a wonderful community. Its ballet tastes are getting more sophisticated--people are interested in seeing what we’re doing. And there are lots of opportunities for creative collaboration. I just had a meeting with the head of the opera to see what we can do together,” said Anderson, who has also collaborated with Boise-based LED artistic director and choreographer Lauren Edson and, now, the Sun valley Ballet Foundation.

Anderson says he felt welcomed and supported.

“The unique thing about audiences here is that they’re not saturated as audiences are in so many cities,” he said. “And they pay attention to things of quality.”

IF YOU GO:

Ballet Idaho will stage “A Season of Ballet” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at The Argyros. Tickets start at $40, available at www.theargyros.org.

The Sun Valley Ballet School’s “Jeux D’Enfants” takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19.

“We are hoping for a full house to see all of their commitment and hard work and watch the kids light up the stage with their smiles and steps,” said Sun Valley Ballet School Administrator Aimee Durand.

Tickets for the Jeux D’Enfants recital are available at the dance studio at 111 N. 1st Ave. in Hailey, at www.sunvalleyballet.org and at 208-806-1441.

 

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