One of the most iconic scenes in all of classical ballet will be included in the Ballet Theatre of Dover's 2014 summer show at the Schwartz Center.
One of the most iconic scenes in all of classical ballet will be included in the Ballet Theatre of Dover’s 2014 summer show at the Schwartz Center for the Arts on Thursday.
The show will highlight some of the most revered scenes from “La Bayadere,” as well as contemporary dancing in a series of vignettes that pay tribute to American history, all set to a soundtrack by American composers who have left an indelible mark.
What’s ‘La Bayadere’?
“La Bayadere,” which translates to “the temple dancer,” is set in India and tells the story of an ill-fated love affair between a temple dancer, Nikiya and the warrior, Solor. While Nikiya and Solor are in love, the High Brahmin also yearns for Nikiya’s affection. Meanwhile, the Rajah Dugmanta has chosen Solor to marry his daughter, Gamzatti. In an attempt to have Solor killed so he can have Nikiya to himself, the High Brahmin informs Rajah that Solor is in love with Nikiya. However, his plan backfires, and Rajah instead wants to have Nikiya put to death.
Ballet Theatre of Dance performer Jasmine Urban, who stars as Nikiya, says she likes that “La Bayadere” is gloomier than the summer shows the ballet company is accustom to presenting. This time around, Urban gets to play a “shade,” which is like a ghost.
“The story of this ballet is a lot different than what we usually do with a happy ballet [where] we have to smile,” said the 17-year-old resident of Dover. “In the shades [scene], we can’t be smiling and happy because we’re ghosts.”
Professional guest dancer Andre Teixeira, starring as Solor, said performing in this ballet is like a dream come true for a male dancer.
“’La Bayadere’ is one of the best ballets for a male,” said Teixeira, who dances with the New Jersey Ballet. “It features the male lead and soloist roles with technical and artistic challenges that compliment his ability in the ballet.”
Kingdom of the Shades
The reason “La Bayadere” is one of the most celebrated classical ballets is because of its acclaimed Kingdom of the Shades scene, in which Solor sees multiple “shades” performing synchronized, classical ballet dancing.
Ballet Theatre of Dover Artistic Director Maria Emmons likens the popularity of the shades’ precision choreography to that of the legendary Rockettes, the dance company in New York that’s known for its dancers who perform synchronized high kicks. The Rockettes don’t always perform the most complicated dances, yet people are amazed when they see the dancers performing in unison. Emmons said that same kind of astonishment overtakes audiences when they see dancers performing in the Kingdom of the Shades scene.
“It’s the same thing with the shades,” Emmons said. “They do the repetition and people look for that.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT Ballet Theatre of Dover’s 2014 summer show
WHEN 2 and 7 p.m., Thursday
WHERE Schwartz Center for the Arts, 226 S. State St., Dover
COST $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors
INFO Visit schwartzcenter.com or call 678-3583