Dayton Daily News
World premieres accent Dayton Ballet’s various ‘Perspectives’
Case Bodamer retired from Dayton Ballet last spring after 10 memorable seasons, but he’s happy to have been asked to return to choreograph a world premiere for the company’s winter concert “Perspectives,” an evening of repertory spotlighting four distinct dances slated Feb.14-17 at the Victoria Theatre.
Entitled “Zero Impact” and inspired by a 2018 National Geographic article concerning the extinction of the male northern white rhinoceros, Bodamer’s piece was created from the concept of the nature principals associated with Leave No Trace. Addi- tionally, it reflects the uncer- tainty he and his wife, Annal- ise, also a former Dayton Ballet dancer, faced when they decided to leave the company.
“The storyline for ‘Zero Impact’ (came out of ) an emotional time for me and my wife,” said Bodamer, who resides in Colorado and per- forms with Boulder Ballet. “We simply felt it was time for something different, some- thing new. It was a very contemplative time. (All the while), I was drawn to the importance of preserving nature. So, this piece is really about the decisions humans make, espe- cially how we don’t realize the (gravity) of (an) outcome until it’s too late. But humans can also learn from mistakes and hopefully make better choices in the future.”
Bodamer, a native of Blue Point, N.Y., who spent summers training at The Julliard School and notably received the prestigious Josie Award while at Dayton Ballet, guided the dancers through a one- week rehearsal period last month. His unique piece blends physical athleticism with languid beauty in five movements encompassing strong partnering and a par- ticularly intense male trio. Choreographing for the company reminded him of many lessons learned from his time in the troupe.
“Over the years, I was blessed to have so many opportunities and I learned something special from all of them,” Bodamer said. “I learned the importance of having a really strong work ethic. I also learned how to be comfortable onstage being who I am in every role, whether I was playing a prince or a stepsister. Dayton Ballet taught me what I needed to know as a dancer, but also taught me about life and being a good person.”
Mariana Oliveira, a Brazil native serving as choreographer and artistic director of The Union Project Dance Company, also provides a world premiere for the concert, her first for Dayton Ballet. Her piece, a reflection of life, love and death, is entitled “Isle of the Dead,” inspired by Sergei Rachmaninoff ’s composi- tion and Swiss Symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin’s painting of the same name.
“The ‘Isle of the Dead’ paint- ing portraits a desolate and rocky small island seen across an expanse of dark water, a small rowboat and a white delicate figure in the center,” said Oliveira, who studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and taught at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Brazil, the only Bolshoi School outside Russia. “I tried to bring those elements from the painting to my piece through the costumes, lighting design and, of course, the movements. After designing the movements I came to the conclusion that my version of ‘Isle of the Dead’ was about a man and his jour- ney. Life is a journey we have absolutely no control of, so we better enjoy and cherish each moment and each per- son that cross our path. And throughout life we find and lose love, friends, family, and money, especially today in which everything is so quick. And that speed has been trans- ferred to how we relate with each other. So, relationships have become a bit more super- ficial. Also, I was inspired by the city of Chicago and the beautiful nights where the city is so alive. Chicago became home a bit over a year ago and it is a very special place for me. All of my works reflect a personal moment in my life, so like the character in my piece, I also found and lost love and I’ve been learning how to achieve balance in this incredible journey that is life.”
“Perspectives” also includes “Violin Concerto,” a classical ballet choreographed by former Dayton Ballet dancer Justin Koertgen. Set to excerpts from Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1,” the piece features four couples including Paul Gilliam who danced in its premiere. Dayton Philharmonic Concertmaster Jessica Hung (violin) and Principal Keyboard Joshua Nemith (piano) will accompany this combination of dance and live music.
“Trinity,” reflecting the culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s and described as a “joyful tribute to youth, their passions and their rituals,” is the fourth work on the program. Representing love, power and peace, the groundbreaking ballet was created at University of California at Berkeley and choreographed by the late Gerald Arpino, co-founder and former artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet. Former Dayton Ballet artistic director Dermot Burke notably danced in “Trinity.”
“It is amazing that 49 years after its creation, ‘Trinity’ is still relevant and addresses some of the same world issues we are dealing with today,” said Karen Russo Burke, Dayton Ballet artistic director.
Before “Trinity” and “Zero Impact” are performed, a behind-the-scenes video will be shown highlighting the preparation of each work through interviews and recordings in rehearsal. Also, 45 minutes before each performance, Burke will hold a pre-performance talk called “The First Step,” offering audiences a more in-depth look at the performance overall and behindthe-scenes footage of Dayton Ballet. “The First Step” will be held in the Burnell Roberts Room at 126 N. Main Street, beside the Victoria Theatre. In addition, “Behind the Ballet,” a Q&A with dancers offering audiences a chance to learn more about the life of a dancer with Dayton Ballet, will follow each performance.