Auditorium Theatre celebrates 50th Anniversary of the theatre’s re-opening with the Golden Celebration of Dance.
In 1941 the Auditorium Theatre, home to many local and international artists, closed its doors for 26 years. On October 31, 1967 the theatre re-opened with the New York City Ballet, where principal dancers Suzanne Farrell and Edward Villella performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In celebration of the theatre’s 50th Anniversary of the grand re-opening, dancers from companies all over the world came together for a one-night only performance and gala.
The evening included performances by dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, MOMIX, Parsons Dance, San Francisco, The Washington Ballet, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Berlin State Ballet, Vienna State Ballet, and the New York City Ballet.
The evening began with the ballet Tarantella choreographed by George Balanchine and performed by New York City Ballet dancers Megan Fairchild and Daniel Ulbricht. The steps are spritely and virtuosic and the pair moved effortlessly through fast footwork and quick jumps.
Performing the Pas de Deux from Diana and Acteon were Koto Ishihara of the San Francisco Ballet and Brooklyn Mack of the Washington Ballet. The duet moves slower than Tarantella but this only allows the dancers to move larger, soaring through the air with incredible height and buoyancy. Mack, in particular, sends a jolt of fear up the audiences’ spines with his high-flying jumps that twist in the air making us wonder if he will land on his feet, which he always does.
Maria Kochetkova of the San Francisco Ballet and Daniil Simkin of the American Ballet Theatre and Berlin State Ballet perform the classical Spanish-inspired Pas de Deux from Don Quixote. Performed with a fan, Kochetkova’s role is sassy and spirited. She flicks her fan and waves it coyly in front of her face while she moves across the stage hoping lightly on the tops of her pointe shoes. Together with Simkin, the pair closes out the show with elegant partnering and Spanish-flare.
The Golden Celebration also featured a number of exciting solo performances. The first was Simkin performing Les Bourgeois choreographed by Ben van Cauwenbergh to music by Jacques Brel. Simkin appears wearing a button down and tie doing a quirky jig to the French singer’s tune. The piece brings out a humorous side of ballet and Simkin’s musicality reminds us that dance can be technical while still being fun.
Another less classical piece performed during the Golden Celebration was Takademe choreographed by Robert Battle and performed by Solomon Dumas of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The solo is rhythmic and low to the ground, mimicking Sheila Chandra’s vocal score.
Caught choreographed by David Parsons and performed by Ian Spring uses technical effects such as strobe lights that make us feel as though we are seeing a series of photographs instead of a dancer moving fluidly through space. Spring hits a shape just as the light hits his body, then another in the next flash of light. As he jumps through the air we never see his body touch the ground and he appears to be walking on air.
A Contemporary Twist
As the evening continues, video projections and narration take the audience through the theatre’s history. Snow begins to fall on the projection screen speaking to the ominous time during the Great Depression and the theatre’s 26 year closure, which leads into Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo performed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The piece, inspired by Mark Strand’s poem Lines for Winter, is about a man coming to the end of his life. Falling snow becomes the backdrop of the piece as the dancers weave through one another, falling through each other’s arms until only one is left lying in the snow alone.
MOMIX presents us with the innovative and futuristic work, Millennium Skiva a duet in which dancers Todd Burnsed and Nicole Loizides wearing silver unitards, use skis to perform acrobatic dance, leaning forward inches from the ground and snaking their bodies back up again all while having their feet planted in one spot by the skis. The piece combines humor and originality to give the audience a taste of something completely new.
The Golden Celebration also included Meditation performed by the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, The Swan performed by Liudmila Konovalova of the Vienna State Ballet, Bells performed by the Joffrey Ballet, La Esmeralda Variation performed by Youth American Grand Prix dancer Madison Penney, and Chaconne Pas de Deux and Variations performed by Ballet West.
To learn more about the Auditorium Theatre and it’s upcoming performances visit the Auditorium Theatre’s website.
The author of this review, Hayley Ross, has a long and close association with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, which performs one work in The Golden Celebration of Dance. In August of 2016 she started working with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as an intern and in November of 2016, she became the company’s Communication Coordinator.
About the Author:
Hayley Ross graduated from Ohio University in 2016 with degrees in Dance and Journalism. She currently works in the Marketing department at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as the Communication Coordinator. Learn more about Hayley at hayleyross.weebly.com