Thursday, February 16, 2012


My niece Liza and I attended An Evening of Art and Dance collaboration presented by Ballet Royale Minnesota on Friday, February 10th. This is the third year that the ballet company choreographed pieces based upon two-dimensional artwork.

The evening began with an introduction by Ballet Royale Co-Directors Denise Vogt and Rick Vogt. The visual artist spoke about their personal journey of painting and the choreographer discussed their process. The youthful dancers performed which was followed by a brief reflection before the next artwork chat. A screen projected a photo of the artwork to the left of the stage while the original hung in the lobby. Unfortunately, the stage at the Lakeville Area Arts Center is deep with a narrow proscenium extension, which does not provide much room for movement.

Skeletal tree branches extending into the winter air echoed with the sound of small deer hooves (toe shoes). Marcia Cushmore’s painting, “Bones: Reaching” is simultaneously haunting and soothing. Rick Vogt choreographed Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves” with mostly classical ballet positions. The troupe performed on a cramped stage and mimicked the tree branches with their flexible motions. The piece began crowded with dancers, the second section had better structure, and finished with a beautiful meditative motion. The troupe floated like leaves and ended as branches. The simple ballet costumes were a lovely reflection of the pastel hues in the painting.

Hard angles, texture and roughness describe Alison Price’s “Hindsight Bohemian Flats” inspired by the wreckage of the 35W Bridge Collapse. The rusting metal was stored in the park downstream from the site for several years after the structure was disassembled. Ms. Price sent photos of the artwork during development and met with the ensemble so that they could choreograph the piece simultaneously. Dance designer Bailey Anderson collaborated with the dozen performers, aged 13- 17, and utilized a variety of tools to create a modern dance. Barefooted youth wore simple black leotards with rolled up jeans and danced to excerpts from the movie Chocolat`. The dance included perky, calm, and bouncy elements in a rather discombobulated fashion. It was wonderful to hear from the dancers after the performance though a bit unnerving to view their gnarled feet. Alison Price was profiled on this blog on January 9th. Contact her at 612-805-1886 or for details.

Strength emanates from Manidoo-giizhikens’ female and male essence on the shores of Gichigami. Hazel Belvo’s magnificent “Spirit Tree Dusk I and Spirit Tree Dusk II” two part painting captures Lake Superior’s Little Cedar Spirit Tree located at Grand Portage, MN. The artwork shows the power of the sweeping trunk as its roots cling to rock with the vermilion clouds crashing like waves in the background. Movement composer Denise Vogt appropriately chose Phillip Glass’ “Prelude and Dance” from Akhnaten I and II for the performance. The dancers chose costumes resembling the cloud-waves in the painting. Mixture of contemporary and classical ballet swept over the stage. Disappointed that the piece ended because it could be extended to a full performance. Visit the inspirational conifer at

Unique format provided some interesting insights, but advisable to repeat questions from the audience into a microphone during Q & A session. It would be wonderful to hear more from the teenaged performers. The Ballet Royale website needs an extensive explanation of the event with a link to the center to procure tickets. The City of Lakeville should add written directions to their website because the Lakeville Area Arts Center map is not adequate. Liza, my honorary niece who is the daughter of my best friend Allie, already wants to attend next year’s show.

Keep On Dancing!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

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