The fall ballet season at Jacobs School of Music will open with performances at 7:30 p.m. on September 30 and October 1 and at 2:00 p.m. on October 1. The “Fall Ballet” will feature a variety of dances showcasing the talents of old and new choreographers.
The first piece on display is the “Valse-Fantaisie”, a classical work originally choreographed by George Balanchine, an influential figure in the world of dance. Sarah Wroth, music teacher at the Jacobs School of Music and chair of the ballet department, said she chose this piece as the opening because of its high energy.
“Dancers are bounding onto the stage and it’s a great energetic way to start this night,” Wroth said. “The first chords of the piece will just wake the audience up and have them sit up.”
The following unnamed performed piece is choreographed by Ballet Idaho Intern Program Director Nicole Haskins. Using sixteen female-identifying dancers and starting rehearsals near the first week of school, Wroth recalled the resounding impact of seeing the dancers’ hard work come together.
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“It’s majesty in motion, it’s not explosive power,” Wroth said. “It’s that kind of quiet grace that builds from mature strength on stage and you can see every dancer stepping into that spotlight of movement.”
The third, also currently unnamed, piece of the evening is choreographed by My’Kal Stromile, an artist currently working with Boston Ballet. It was his work with Boston Ballet’s “The Gift” in 2020, in which he choreographed a short dance to Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite,” that led Wroth to tell him about “Fall Ballet.”
“I wanted to make room for him at IU because he’s a gifted mover,” Wroth said. “He was exposed to modern dance training, contemporary dance training and ballet. So when you watch his work unfold, you see the best of all three.
The final piece of “Fall Ballet” is “Angels in The Architecture”, choreographed by Mark Godden. The piece is heavily inspired by the Shaker lifestyle and is choreographed to “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland. The most recognizable part of Copland’s composition is the classic Shaker song “Simple Gifts”, also known as “Lord of the Dance”.
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As a contemporary dance, the choreography is inherently difficult to execute, with six couples performing difficult partnership steps. However, Wroth said the dancers are more than capable of rising to the challenge with full dedication.
“It’s something we look at when programming a work,” Wroth said. “We are looking at how this will help our students grow and develop and become familiar with the needs they need to meet when entering the world of ballet in terms of performing their own movements.”
But the first step is still in the present, and Wroth is confident that “Fall Ballet” will usher in ballet fans old and new, with something everyone will love and appreciate while watching the latest production.
“It’s a wonder experience,” Wroth said, “So the more we can get through the door, the more believers we’ll make.”
Tickets for “Fall Ballet” are for sale on the Jacobs School of Music website and cost $10 for students.