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Imagine Ballet Theatre Announces Upcoming Lineup

Productions include The Red Balloon, Pursuit, Answer My Call, Axyst, Breathe Between the Lines, and Essence of a Rose.

Emerging from a pandemic and bursting with renewed energy and passion, Imagine Ballet Theatre (IBT) creates a performance that beautifully combines artistic talent with a theme of empathy and inclusion for all.

Experiences and lessons from the pandemic have taught the dancers to be safe with and respect one another, which truly shines in this premier production during the delicate stage of finally emerging form a pandemic back to a more normal life. From beautiful music, poignant themes, and masterful dancing, this production of four world premieres and two returning pieces is truly not to be missed.

The Red Balloon, originally a film by Albert Lamorisse and choreographed for ballet by IBT's artistic director Raymond Van Mason and music arranged from original by violinist Peggy Wheelwrights, brings the classic French 1956 featurette to stage. Through the story of the boy and his balloon, we can juxtapose our recent collective experience of the pandemic through the themes of joy, loneliness, resilience, feeling beaten down but rising up again, and finally, support and community.

Pursuit is a story about the need and desire to fit into the norm yet being singled out by society and peers. Through the dance, the protagonist realizes that, in fact, fitting in is not what is needed, and she herself can create her own space and standing in society.

Answer My Call, a pas de deux by Rees and Willie, depicts finding love and hope when the earth is in its most bitter moments. Both of these pieces are created by the young and brilliant duo, who have so delicately yet astutely expressed moments and experiences felt and had by many, especially over the past year.
Photo: Matthew Rees and Isabella Willie in Answer My Call.

Axyst, choreographed by Jessica Gabler and set to the music of renown Hungarian composer and philosopher Zoltan Kodaly, portrays particular interactions taking place in daily life that we may or may not recognize. The name of the game is not stepping on anyone's toes. Or is it? Kodaly's music articulately depicts this social phenomenon. How does something we are intended to share become the territory used to protect our pride when interacting with strangers? When we make space for each other with a selfless heart, something truly harmonious is created.

Breath Between the Lines, choreographed by Christina Stockdale, and with music performed by Austin Packer, is a piece about connection. With Packer's live, on-stage performance of Bach's Suite #1 for Cello, visible, yet a safe distance away from the dancers, we are given a brief moment to consider what connection means within the realm of space, safety, and breath. In the short time of this performance, through the methodical yet soothing waves of Bach's iconic composition, the concept of "separate but together," something we have dealt with for the last year, can be felt between the cellist, dancers, and audience alike.

Essence of a Rose, yet another original by Van Mason, is specially choreographed to honor all of his dancers, but especially IBT's longest company member, Tessa Parkinson. Parkinson has been like a rose to the company, starting from a young budding dancer and blossoming into a confident, strong, and beautiful bloom. The story is about love, growth, compassion, and the life of a dancer. The music was arranged from the original by violinist Peggy Wheelwright.

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