Night and Day: Wednesday, February 15, 2006
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‘Marilyn Monroe’ comes to life in TBT’s new production.
PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Rollin’ on the (Trinity) River

By Leonard Eureka

Once a year Texas Ballet Theater sheds its evening-length ballet cloak to offer a repertory program of shorter works. This weekend’s performances include new pieces by company director Ben Stevenson and company members Tim O’Keefe and Peter Zweifel. Topping off the program will be appearances by guest artists Zhang Jian, principal dancer with the National Ballet of China, and Carlos Acosta of London’s Royal Ballet, performing the acrobatic pas de deux from Le Corsaire.

The two have made guest spots together for a number of companies. While Jian is still trying to raise her profile outside of China, young Acosta ranks among the most exciting male dancers around, earning comparisons with the brilliant Rudolf Nureyev of an earlier generation.

A 30-minute tour de force set to the slow movement of Mahler’s 10th Symphony, Image was created by Stevenson for Janie Parker of the Houston Ballet, his former company. TBT rising star Julie Gumbinner will perform here. The ballet was inspired by a comment once made by Marilyn Monroe: “If you’re nobody, and you want to be somebody, you need to become somebody else.”

O’Keefe, Stevenson’s assistant, has appeared in character roles with TBT, but Love Thing is his first choreography effort. In a change of pace from anything the company has ever done, O’Keefe set several Tina Turner songs for five couples and a solo ballerina, Carolyn Judson here. Familiar numbers include “Nut Bush City Limits,” “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” “Rock Me, Baby,” and “Proud Mary.”

Closing the program will be Absence, the first professional ballet choreographed by company dancer Zweifel. Set to the music of Chopin and Vivaldi, the piece — with five couples and two principal female dancers — is an exploration of relationships.

Fri-Sun at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. $18-95. 817-212-4280.


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