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Dance show is poetry in motion

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Dance show is poetry in motion photo by Walla Photography
Robinson Ballet LIVE 2013 at Bangor Opera House

BANGOR The Robinson Ballet's annual spring dance show has always been a highlight of the season for me. It's as much as sign of winter's departure as melting snow or tulips. And they never fail to put on a fun show. 

Robinson Ballet LIVE 2013 runs through April 13 at the Bangor Opera House. In addition, the company will be presenting their Youth Matinee production of 'Aladdin' on April 13.

This year's 'LIVE' features four wonderfully diverse and distinct pieces, each of which offers something aesthetically unique to the program. The first is titled 'Suite Espanol,' a four-part piece filled with Spanish flair and featuring a section choreographed by Robinson Ballet founder Ralph Robinson. The other three parts come from co-artistic director Maureen Lynch. It's a high-energy piece, filled with excitement and enthusiasm. 

Second comes 'Alex Supertramp,' choreographed by resident choreographer Terry Lacy and inspired by the Jon Krakauer book 'Into the Wild.' The piece follows young Alex as he embarks on a journey both literal and figurative. The tale of his journey is relayed in movement as not only dancers, but ladders and tables and steamer trunks twirl and whirl across the stage.

After intermission, co-artistic director Keith Robinson's '4 In Bodiez' takes a look at the way we interact with each other and the world around us. With dancers presented in stark red and black, the choreography illustrates the nature of our relationships cooperative and combative alike. The dance weaves a richly complex web across the stage.

The evening's finale came from associate artistic director Stevie Dunham, whose 'The West Side' offered a retelling of 'West Side Story.' The piece pulls from a number of different musical selections in order to offer an all-new look at a classic story. The choreography also features a number of influences jazz and Latin styles chief among them as the audience is treated to another look at star-crossed Tony and Maria.

As per usual, the company as a whole put together some phenomenal work. Each and every dancer had moments in which they shone brightly, bringing their movements to light and life. 

Guest dancers Sunny Hitt and Sam Borer both brought grace and agility to their time on the stage. While the two perhaps shone brightest as the young lovers at the center of 'The West Side' evoking the passion of yearning youth each also had other highlights. Borer's work during 'Suite Espanol' and Hitt's in '4 In Bodiez' offered plenty of athletic and aesthetic highlights.

August Eaton was wonderfully emotive as the titular 'Alex Supertramp.' He tackled the part with a controlled aggression that led to something that was both expressive and engaging. And Dunham who is just as talented a dancer as she is a choreographer appeared in all three pieces that were not her own, bringing a charisma of movement that is rare to see. Her dancing is dynamic, magnetic and a pleasure to watch.

Telling a story through movement is, to me, one of the most difficult undertakings in the world of performance. Dance as a medium is incredibly beautiful while also being somewhat inscrutable. Finding a way to convey so much raw feeling through motion is a difficult task - a task well worth celebrating if successful.

There is joy in what Robinson Ballet is doing. So much so that words can't really accurately convey it. You're just going to have to go and see for yourselves.

(Tickets to Robinson Ballet LIVE 2013 are available via the Penobscot Theatre box office at 942-3333 or www.penobscottheatre.org.)

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