Cincinnati Ballet New Works – through Sept. 21

Cincinnati Ballet New Works – through Sept. 21

Like ballet? How about hip hop? How about seeing both in the same show? Once a year, dance enthusiasts have an opportunity to see world premieres of modern dance works created by a variety of choreographers from around the country performed by the Cincinnati Ballet. This year’s installment of The Kaplan New Works opened Sept. 11 and runs through Sept. 21. I received a media invitation to the opening for me and a guest. I brought a friend with me who was a dancer through her college years and is now a dance/theater mom. I really looked forward to going because, although I do watch some of the dance shows on TV, it had been quite some time since I’d seen a live performance. Six works comprised the performance with three before and after a 20-minute intermission. What I didn’t expect was that there would be live music. Some of the pieces were accompanied by musicians and singers. In fact, before the curtain rose for the opening piece, members of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble set the mood. The first piece was Floating Forward, choreographed by Cincinnati native Heather Britt. Of the six works, this one most resembled traditional ballet.

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Sarah Hairston.

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Sarah Hairston.

The second work was a fun hip hop piece choreographed by Derrek Burbridge of Elementz Urban Dance Center in Over-the-Rhine. It was performed by his own dancers. Fans of the FOX show So You Think You Can Dance will recognize some Twitch-like moves.

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Elementz dancers.

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Elementz dancers.

Fractured Glass was choreographed by the Cincinnati Ballet’s own artistic director, Victoria Morgan.

Abigail Morwood

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Abigail Morwood

During the intermission, the dancers put away their toe shoes, then another trio of modern pieces followed. Yesterday, Tomorrow was set to bluegrass and country music and used a bench as a prop. I really enjoyed this one.

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured:

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: James Gilmer, Jacqueline Damico, Romel Frometa, Gema Diaz, Sirui Liu

My friend really loved Triple Play.  A pianist played a grand piano on stage while two dancers portrayed young love.

Grace Shivers & James Cunningham

Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Grace Shivers & James Cunningham

I think the final work, Sit, was my favorite because of its raw energy.

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Photo provided by Cincinnati Ballet, copyright Peter Mueller. Pictured: Jake Casey, Maizyalet Velázquez, Cervilio Miguel Amador, James Gilmer, Melissa Gelfin

Both my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed The Kaplan New Works. We appreciated the wide variety of styles and the unique contributions of each choreographer. Since my kids did not attend the show with me, I can’t comment on their impressions. There was nothing in the show that wasn’t family friendly. I did see one young girl in attendance and asked her what she thought. She said she loved it. I think this show would be a nice treat for a kid who is passionate about dance, but because of the price of the tickets, it might be better for a date night or girlfriends’ night out. The Kaplan New Works Cincinnati Ballet The Aronoff Center for the Arts, Jarson-Kaplan Theater 650 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 Sept. 11-21, 2014 Tickets available online ($55-65)