Arts » Theater + Dance

Review: 2016 Evening with the Stars from Indianapolis City Ballet

Pushing the boundaries of ballet



Every year Indianapolis City Ballet brings some of the best dancers in the world to Indy through Evening with the Stars.

This year was no exception (except for the fact that an opening performance by Kids Dance Outreach damn near stole the show with a combination of swag and cuteness).

The opening act was "Seven Sonatas" performed by Sofiane Sylve and Carlo Di Lanno of the San Francisco Ballet. Their style follows the tradition of George Balanchine, something that ICB follows as well. Carlo was extremely theatrical, even shrugging when Sofiane left the stage at one point. Sofiane demonstrated remarkably clean lines and finishes within each count.

One of the strongest dances of the night was La Pluie with Iana Salenko and Daniil Simkin (of the Berlin Ballet and American Ballet Theatre). The choreography bordered on interpretive with the expressive beginning. The partner work was so well rehearsed that it looked like strings were connected between them.

Evening with the Stars 2016 was one of their more modern shows in recent memory. For example, the piece entitled “This Bitter Earth” performed by Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild (who both stole the show in terms of raw athleticism), showed master partner-work and combined interpretive with classical ballet. At one point Tiler was perpendicular to Robbie and appeared to roll up Robbie’s side three times.

Another surprising twist was to see the combination of hip-hop and ballet in “Budget Bulgar.” Performed by Tiler Peck and Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles, the two were able to blend his style of “memphis jookin” and her classical ballet skills as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet in a way that balanced the two of them.

The show was not without faults. The performance of Veronika Verterich was weak — physically, that is — to the point where she was trembling and not able to hold positions for more than a brief second. One of the beauties of ballet is the demanding physical fortitude; Veronika appeared to not possess the stamina to keep up with the show. I couldn't help but think about the pressure that female dancers have to be an unreasonable standard of thin while maintaining athleticism.


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