UApresents: UA Dance - 'Premium Blend'
Those who remember George Balanchine's masterwork "Allegro Brillante" from last year's Premium Blend will be treated this year to an enticing new work for the University of Arizona Dance Ensemble and an equally appetizing menu of choreography by award-winning UA Dance faculty, including Douglas Nielsen's scintillating tribute to the Rat Pack.
Balanchine's three-part, evening-long ballet, "Jewels", is one of the jewels of his output. Created in 1967, Jewels revisits the central pillars of his glorious career. The second ballet, "Rubies," set to Stravinsky, celebrates American dance virtues, filled with sexy Broadway and jazz references. The work is pure Balanchine, full of the abstract stage patterns, novel arm and feet movements, and virtuoso fireworks typical of his style. The UA's School of Dance is honored as only the third university dance program to be permitted to perform this work.
Amy Ernst's poetic work for eight women, "Songs of Sanctuary," will return to celebrate its 10th anniversary since being invited to the American College Dance Festival's national gala.
"RATS!!" by Douglas Nielsen, with vocals by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., will be presented on this program as well. Added to the male cast that exemplifies the infamous "Rat Pack" will be the presence of women, as Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret and Liza Minnelli were considered essential to the entourage of that time. Along with robust choreography, gestures based on American Sign Language are incorporated into this dance.
James Clouser's new ballet "Beachers," to be danced to the music of Dimitri Shostakovitch, presents a series of scenes that take place at the seashore and features flirtatious flappers, health enthusiasts, those who sun but never swim, a squall and a mirage revealing a dalliance between Venus and Neptune.
Michael Williams plans a new work set to a vibrant score in the contemporary musical genre of Nu Jazz. With orchestration ranging from traditional to experimental, the melodies of Nu Jazz are fresh, and its rhythms new and alive.
Finally, Sam Watson will bring back, by popular demand, his zany satire called "Hi-Jinx."
All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. except the March 3 performance, which begins at 1:30 p.m.