published Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Dance Alive offers wild horses, ballet

IF YOU GO

What: Ballet Tennessee performance.

When: 6 p.m. today.

Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, corner of Vine and Palmetto streets.

Admission: Free.

Phone: 821-2055.

Website: www.ballettennessee.org.

For a group of young dancers, the journey of preparing a performance began with a visit from a few horses.

Forty-two students, ages 8-12, in the Dance Alive summer program will join 16 summer intensive dancers and nine youth intensive dancers for a performance at the UTC Fine Arts Center tonight.

The theme of the evening, said Barry Van Cura, director of Ballet Tennessee, is the wild mustang.

"We explored movements that mustangs and horses do," he said, "as far as natural movement." As part of their exploration, the students visited with three mustangs who were brought to the Patten Recreation Center, so they could observe what the horses had learned in captivity.

"The dialogue between the trainer and the horses is done in French," he said, "and they actually use some French terms that ballet dancers know."

In learning about the movement of the mustang, the dancers also learned about the history of the animal. "We talked about the plight of the wild mustang. They actually were here in America before man took over so much of their land. This project is to teach children part of American history and show them what man has inadvertently done to wildlife. The mustang is one of the casualties."

The older dancers worked to choreograph a piece based on the relationship between man and mustang, looking at the idea of reciprocity.

In the second half of the performance will be two original pieces, one based on the opera "Faust" and the other, a neoclassical-style work based on a Vivaldi piece.

In the finale, all the dancers join guest artist Frederick Davis of Dance Theatre Harlem onstage as he embodies the spirit of the mustang.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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