Ballet News

Ballet Idaho Opens With 'Baroque!'

Three years in and the company is finding its footing. By Dana Oland - doland@idahostatesman.com Published: 10/22/10 Music and dance are inextricably intertwined, especially in classical ballet. One can’t think of the movement or ballet story without hearing the rich, orchestrated, memorable music that accompanies it. So when Ballet Idaho artistic director Peter Anastos started on the job in 2008, he vowed he would make live music a regular feature for all the company’s performances. That’s hugely ambitious for a start-up regional ballet that is growing. Now, for this season opener, Anastos takes a big step toward that goal. You’ll hear music played live for three of the ballet’s four season concerts, starting with the ”Baroque!“ this weekend. ”It (live music) is something we really want to dedicate ourselves to,“ he says. For this concert it was a natural to partner with Boise Baroque Orchestra, a 30-member community group that specializes in the delicate, lilting and haunting baroque music. The music side of the performance will offer some of the traditional core composers of the genre: Handel, Bach and Rameau. The movement side will range from Anastos’ neo-classical ballet ”Trianon“ to ballet master Alex Ossadnik’s contrasting contemporary piece to Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 3., played by soloist Paul Hatvani. And company dancer Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye will make his main stage choreographic debut with his sizzling duet with Racheal Hummel to Bach’s Aire on a G String. Dancing to live music is an important part of the performance and artistic process for a dancer, Anastos says. ”That’s when you really start listening and paying attention to what you hear,“ he says. The music and the musician become partners, and the experience for the audience is that much richer. ”The whole thing feels alive,“ Anastos says. Later this season, the Boise Philharmonic will perform with the company for ”The Nutcracker,“ and in February, Ballet Idaho will perform a program of piano ballets to music played by Felix Eisenhauer and Juli Draney. Only the season finale, ”The Sleeping Beauty“ will use recorded music. The live musical performances are really a sign of the progress this company has made under Anastos and Ossadnik. The dancers are growing. The company is evolving: Anastos has added five new performers this season. Ballet Idaho now owns a full-length ”Nutcracker“ that will tour again this year, and it is tackling ”The Sleeping Beauty,“ truly grandest of the grand ballets. That production will — like ”Nutcracker“ — pull in dozens of kids from the academy. ”It’s a fairly elaborate season and I think we’re on a good trajectory,“ Anastos says. ”The community has been so welcoming. I had someone stop me at Fred Meyer the other day to tell me how much they like what we’re doing. It’s heartwarming.“