Ballet Theatre of Dover's upcoming production blends classical ballet with more ethnic and modern dance. The production of "Raymonda" and "Jukebox Suite" will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, and Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Schwartz Center.
The heat hasn’t put a damper on dancers from the Ballet Theatre of Dover. The show must go on, and for them the upcoming show encompasses a classic, Marius Pepita’s “Raymonda,” and the more contemporary, lighthearted “Jukebox Suite,” both of which will be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, and Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
Ethnic flare alive in ‘Raymonda’
“Raymonda” features a small group of intermediate and advanced dancers because the highlight is in the dance, not as much in the narrative of the work.
“‘Raymonda’ is not a very popular ballet, it’s not ‘Swan Lake,’ it’s not ‘Nutcracker,’” said director Teresa Emmons. “For me, it’s [Pepita’s] most brilliant work because of the way the divertissements are created.”
The love story is set during the Crusades, and features Raymonda and her beloved, Jean de Brienne, a knight. Jean heads to war leaving Raymonda to dream about their reunion, but she also has a nightmare about being courted by someone other than Jean. This comes true when the less-than-worthy Abderakhman falls for her. Jean returns just in time to dual with Abderakhman, winning the dual and Raymonda. The third and final act is a wedding celebration featuring many Hungarian dances. Ballet Theatre students will be pulling mostly from the final act.
“It has a really, really nice Hungarian flare and nice Middle Eastern flare,” Emmons said.
She added that choreographer Pepita knew this was going to be a swan song for him, so he loaded it with character dance, or ethnic dances.
Character dance is one of the Ballet Theatre’s specialties, which allowed them to feature this piece, Emmons said. Audiences will get a taste for the style of dance that mainly came out of Eastern European military parade dance. Character dance progressed to include a lot of flamboyant moves including gypsy and Russian dancing, Spanish dancing, and now is more of a term for national or ethnic dances of Europe, Emmons said.
Pop from ’40s to ’80s spins in ‘Jukebox Suite’
Dancers will stick to things more decidedly American in “Jukebox Suite,” the second part of the evening’s show.
In a big step away from “Raymonda,” dancers will relive the sweaty-palmed exhilaration of a school dance in “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole, try to catch the attention of the geek gone chic in “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters and make their own statement in “My Generation” by The Who.
Contemporary dance, a little ballroom, jazz and more will pop up during hits from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons by way of the Jersey Boys, Patsy Cline and the Bee Gees.
Choreographer Andrea Evers had already developed a piece titled “Jukebox Rock,” so the company expanded on it and set a jukebox full of memories to dance.