INsite Magazine

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dance Alive's Fused Tutu

On Saturday night, the Phillips Center was treated to a diverse, beautiful and fun ballet in three parts—Dance Alive National Ballet’s last performance of the season, “Fused Tutu.”

For the purists, the show opened with selections from two classic ballets, “Giselle” and “Swan Lake.” Featuring those romantic and ethereal compositions, two duets floated around the stage, the female leads in filmy tutus. This is the kind of dance you grow up watching, and if the two little girls perched on the edges of their seats in front of me were any indicator, the numbers completely enraptured even the smallest of audience members.

Also part of the first act was a Ukrainian character dance called a “Gopak,” performed by Rostislav Dzabraev. Basketball players, take note: male dancers get serious air. Dzabraev leaped and launched himself so high in the air I was getting a nosebleed just watching. And it was awesome.

With the roar of a motorcycle and a few awed gasps from the audience, Act II moved in with a modern twist on classical ballet. “Fused Tutu,” a dance in nine parts, featured movements inspired by rock ‘n’ roll, disco, hip hop and West African dance. Even the UF Dazzlers paid a visit, showing off their refined brand of hip hop. The drama and theatrics of Fused Tutu contrasted to the classic beauty of Act I, but in a good way. To me, it looked like ballet dancers having a ton of fun on stage, and that feeling is infectious.

To close out the night, Act III, entitled “SOAR,” was inspired by painting and sculptures by Olympic athletes. The artworks that the four dances were based around were displayed behind the dancers. What sounds like a very conceptual piece became all the more clear as the cast captured the essence and beauty of the paintings and sculptures in physical movement. It was the marriage of two art forms, an interesting and inspiring pairing.

Saturday’s performance also marked the final show for the respected and wildly talented Dance Alive principal dancer Tak Kwan Chu. At age 62, and after 23 years performing with Dance Alive National Ballet, Chu took his last bow with the company amid cheers and standing ovations. His strength and beauty as a dancer will surely be missed.

It’s such a pleasure to watch the Dance Alive National Ballet, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next season. If it’s anything like Fused Tutu, I (and you) won’t be disappointed.

--Amelia Marty

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