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Memorial Hall will host companies from France and Sweden performing old ballets with modern spins

Within two weeks, Carolina Performing Arts is presenting two very different ballets.

After the April 4 and 5 performances of the narrative “Snow White” by France’s Ballet Preljocaj, the campus arts group is presenting a non-narrative performance from Sweden’s Goteborg Ballet.

Ellen James, marketing manager for executive office for the arts, said the two different ballets are separate pieces in the intricate development process.

“Our season is always eclectic, broad and incorporates various art forms,” she said.

“We curate it as a whole entity and want dance to be represented.”
She said the company tries to present ballets with a modern twist.

“Sometimes we think every ballet is just tutus and tendus,” James said.

“Goteborg is a really interesting company — they represent both classical and contemporary. It’s very contemporary in its dance as well as what it represents for our society.”

Goteborg is performing three numbers — Kenneth Kvarnstrom’s “OreloB from Bolero,” John Inger’s “Falter” and Orjan Andersson’s “Beethoven’s 32 Variations” — which are not connected narratives, but three modern ballets united by dance rather than plot.

The ballet performance is the last of Carolina Performing Arts’ 2011-12 season. Next year’s lineup will feature a host of performances inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”

Carolina Performing Arts received a $750,000 grant in July 2011 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to commission works based on “Rite of Spring.”

M’Liss Dorrance, co-founder of the Ballet School of Chapel Hill, said she is looking forward to next year’s “Rite of Spring” adaptations.

“The original production was so ahead of its time,” she said.
“It has been inspiring to many people, choreographers, dancers. It was such a remarkable production that it’s still holding up.”

Laurie Yeames, who teaches at the Ballet School of Chapel Hill as well as at UNC, said Carolina Performing Arts’ program has a range of educational opportunities to students interested in the arts — including ballet.

In addition to $10 student tickets to all performances, a number of companies who visited during the current season also held master classes with local professional dancers and students.

She also said that most European dance companies offer a unique perspective on dance culture.

“These companies are universes in themselves, because they all come from different places,” she said.

“In Europe, ballet is something different — what they do is not just positions.”

As the Goteborg company experiments with both contemporary and classical forms this evening at Memorial Hall, Yeames said the audience can expect anything at the show.

“I’m not sure what you’re going to get,” she said. “You have to be open.”

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