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Bangor Ballet’s “Variety Paq” pays tribute to founding artistic director

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BANGOR - When the dancers of Bangor Ballet take the stage May 13 at The Gracie Theatre and May 21 at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft, they will be honoring the legacy of the company’s Founding Artistic Director, Ivy Clear Forrest. Ms Forrest was Bangor Ballet’s teacher and choreographer from the company’s first season in 1994 until her retirement last year. As the company embarks on a nationwide search for its next artistic director, “Variety Paq” pays tribute to Ms. Forrest’s lasting contributions to Bangor Ballet. 

“Variety Paq” opens with the geometric beauty and elegance of “Tribute to Balanchine,” set to the music of J.S. Bach. It is Ms. Forrest’s personal homage to one of her mentors, legendary choreographer George Balanchine, and presents the dancers in the boldly American style Balanchine pioneered at New York City Ballet.

“Schubert Waltzes,” set to Franz Schubert’s flowing and romantic Noble Waltzes, Op. 77, is choreographed by Bangor Ballet’s interim director, Andrea Stark, whose daughter was a member of the company in its early days. A ballet of fleeting moments and brief encounters, Schubert Waltzes features both senior company members and a group of Bangor Ballet’s apprentice dancers, who began their training with Ms. Forrest.

The program comes full circle with the premiere of “Points Beginning,” choreographed by Bangor Ballet alumnus Riley Watts. One of Ms. Forrest’s first students, Watts has returned to work collaboratively with a group of Bangor Ballet’s advanced dancers, using improvisation and the dancers’ individual movement styles to influence the direction of the new work.

A Glenburn native, Watts studied at Walnut Hill School for the Arts before getting his BFA from The Juilliard School in NYC. Among his many honors, he is a Princess Grace Award recipient and was named Contemporary Dancer of the Year for the Leonide Massine-Positano Prize, Italy. He has performed with numerous international dance companies and since 2010 has worked closely with choreographer William Forsythe. 

The program’s rousing finale and the “Paq” in “Variety Paq” is “Paquita Variations.” A suite of dances with a fiery Spanish flair, it was first staged by Ms. Forrest for Bangor Ballet in 2014. The ballet’s lively music underscores virtuoso dancing for the corps de ballet and soloists. Fittingly, the suite of solos originated as a farewell tribute to Enrico Cecchetti, beloved teacher of Imperial Russia’s legendary ballerinas. Paquita highlights the training and flair of Bangor Ballet’s dancers and the company’s dedication to the classical tradition. The ballet is being restaged for these performances by Master Teacher Bryan Matluk of Portland’s Exchange St. Studio.

(“Variety Paq” will be performed Saturday, May 13th at 7pm at The Gracie Theatre at Husson University and Sunday, May 21st at 4pm at Center Theatre, Dover-Foxcroft. Tickets for both performances are available online at bangorballet.org or by calling 207-945-5911. Tickets for the performance at The Gracie are also available at Patrick’s Hallmark Shop in Bangor and for both shows at the box office one hour prior to the performance.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 12:15

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