Jacobs School of Music Ballet Theater to begin new season with ‘Fall Ballet’

The fall season of ballet at the Jacobs School of Music will open with performances at 7:30 pm Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and 2 pm Oct. 1. The “Fall Ballet” will feature a variety of dances showcasing the talents of old and new choreographers.

The first piece on display is the “Valse-Fantaisie,” a classic work originally choreographed by George Balanchine, an influential figure in the world of dance. Sarah Wroth, professor of music at the Jacobs School of Music and chair of the Ballet Department, said she selected this piece as an opener due to its high energy.

“Dancers are bounding across the stage and it’s a great energetic way to start this evening,” Wroth said. “The first chords of the piece are just going to wake the audience up and get them seated upright.”

The following unnamed performed piece is choreographed by Nicole Haskins, the trainee program director for Ballet Idaho. Utilizing sixteen female-identifying dancers and starting rehearsals close to the first week of school, Wroth recalled the resounding impact of seeing the dancers’ hard work come together.

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“It’s majesty in motion, it’s not bombastic power,” Wroth said. “It’s this kind of quiet grace that’s built from mature strength on stage and you get to see each dancer step into this spotlight of movement.”

The third piece, also currently unnamed, of the evening is choreographed by My’Kal Stromile, an artist currently working with Boston Ballet. It was his work with Boston Ballet’s “The Gift” in 2020, in which he choreographed a short dance to Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite,” that led Wroth to reach out to him about the “Fall Ballet.”

“I wanted to make a space for him at IU because he is a gifted mover,” Wroth said. “He has been exposed to modern dance training, contemporary dance training and ballet. So, when you watch his work unfold, you’re seeing the best of all three.”

The final piece of “Fall Ballet” is “Angels in The Architecture,” choreographed by Mark Godden. The piece is heavily inspired by the Shaker lifestyle and is choreographed to Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” The most recognizable part of Copland’s composition is the classic Shaker song “Simple Gifts,” also known as “Lord of the Dance.”

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As a contemporary dance, the choreography is inherently challenging to perform, with six couples performing difficult partnering steps. However, Wroth said the dancers are more than capable of meeting the challenge with full dedication.

“That’s something we look at when we program a work,” Wroth said. “We look at how this will help our students grow and thrive and become educated in what needs they need to satisfy when they go out into the ballet world in terms of their own movement execution.”

But the first step is always in the present, and Wroth is confident that “Fall Ballet” will usher in old and new fans of ballet, with something for everyone to love and enjoy while watching the latest production.

“It’s an experience of wonder,” Wroth said, “So the more people we can get through the door, the more believers we’ll make.”

Tickets for “Fall Ballet” are on sale through the Jacobs School of Music website and are $10 dollars for students.

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