Verb Ballets to Present HONORING POLL at Akron Civic Theatre, 3/8

The Akron Civic Theatre will present Verb Ballets', Honoring Poll, on Friday, March 8, 2013, at 8pm with intimate cabaret seating on stage at the historic theatre. The program will highlight the late choreographer Heinz Poll and his legacy through works created for the Ohio Ballet and features a new work by former Ohio Ballet dancer and ballet master, Richard Dickinson (Ohio Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Boston Ballet).

Also to be shown in the evening is a brief documentary of Poll's life and accomplishments titled, Soaring. "Heinz was an important icon in dance history in Northeast Ohio. He helped build the dance community with works that spoke to the public. Verb is honored to carry on his legacy every time we dance his work," said director of Verb Ballets and former Poll student, Dr. Margaret Carlson.

The show will feature the exuberant big-band piece by Poll, Eight By Benny Goodman. This will get feet tappin' to sounds of the master, Benny Goodman. This is the first time the piece has been done in its entirety in Akron since it was created for Ohio Ballet in 1993. Dickinson, Verb Ballets' Rehearsal Director, was with the Ohio Ballet for twelve years as a principal dancer and the ballet master. Dickinson danced every male role in the piece during his career with Ohio Ballet and for this reason Poll granted the rights of the piece to him. "Heinz Poll loved Marlene Dietrich and that whole period of her movies. Eight by Benny Goodman was a response to his love of the glamour of the times," said Dickinson.

In contrast to the sassy ballroom piece will be Duet choreographed by Poll in 1979. Poll choreographed Duet in the neoclassical style of George Balanchine, regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in ballet. Poll's use of J.S. Bach's "Adagio" from his Organ Toccata in C, arranged for cello and piano by former Ohio Ballet Music Director David Fisher, showcases Poll's musical mastery. Donald Rosenberg of The Plain Dealer described the classical pas de deux as, "pure classical ballet, its sense of line and high lifts set to a majestic Bach adagio."

The fan favorite Bolero (1996) choreographed to the epic music of Ravel will revisit the stage. The ballet blends Indian and modern dance styles while its drive, propulsion, and intensity build with the score. The piece is a visual masterpiece set to the drive force of the well known score.

Also on the program is Dickinson's ballet about loss and longing, set to Richard Strauss' haunting Four Last Songs (2013). This piece will interpret the haunting melodies of Strauss' last work and the writings of the poets, Hermann Hesse and Joseph von Eichendorff. The hope in Spring, the fading light of September, the darkness of losing someone in a Time to Sleep; and the mourning of letting a loved one go, At Dust, Dickinson's work explores the story lines in the beauty and gracefulness of the four songs.

In conjunction with the performance, Verb Ballets will be in Akron at Firestone High School Visual and Performing Arts Program conducting a master class for the public school dance students. This program is provided through the generosity of Omnova Solutions Foundation.

This show gives the audience a chance to revisit the classics of Ohio Ballet on the next generations of dancers. Single tickets at $25 each are available by calling the Akron Civic Box Office at 330-253-2488 or online at Akron Civic Theatre is located at 182 South Main Street Akron, Ohio.

Richard Dickinson, MFA (Choreographer, Rehearsal Director) A former dancer with Ohio Ballet in Akron, OH, Dickinson's association with that company began in 1988. He later became ballet master and director of company touring. Richard has served as Artistic Associate for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. He currently is an adjunct professor at Youngstown State University; co-director of State Street Ballet's Summer Intensive (located in Santa Barbara, CA), and Rehearsal Director for Verb Ballets. He was most recently the Artistic Director of Ballet Western Reserve, in Youngstown, OH and the Artistic Director of Great Lakes Festival Ballet (Warren, OH). Dickinson has also directed Boston Ballet II and was a soloist with Boston Ballet for eight years. At age fifteen, he joined the Pasadena Dance Theatre and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Emerging Choreographer Award for a work premiered by the same company. He performed in the PBS television production of "Frankie and Johnny" with the Chicago Ballet and danced principal roles in Asian, European and American tours with Rudolf Nureyev and the Boston Ballet. In addition to an extensive dance career, including principal and soloist roles with Ohio Ballet, Boston Ballet, Honolulu City Ballet, various regional companies and Chamber Dance Theatre in Milwaukee, where he was Artistic Director. Dickinson has adjudicated four Regional Dance America festivals held throughout the United States. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University in 2005.

Heinz Poll (Choreographer) was born in Oberhausen, Germany, in 1926. Poll was a champion ice skater before he became a dancer. His experience on the rinks imbued him with a love of speed that he expressed in his athletic baroque ballet, Cascade (1985). After World War II, he studied dance at Joss's Folkwang School in Essen, began his professional career at the Municipal Theatre in Goettingen and became a principal dancer with the Berlin State Opera Ballet. In 1951, he joined the National Ballet of Chile as a dancer, ballet master, and teacher. The company's tradition of bringing serious programs to indigenous people in remote mountain villages served as the model for Ohio Ballet's Summer Festival of free outdoor performances. In 1962, Poll joined Ballet de Jeunesse Musicales de France as ballet master. Two years later, he came to the United States as a guest artist with the Chilean company. He performed in the American Dance Festival the following summer and stayed in New York to teach at Thalia Mara's National Academy of Ballet. In Akron, he developed Ohio Ballet into one of America's most polished, respected, and widely traveled chamber dance troupes. Poll was awarded the Association of Ohio Dance Companies Award in 1983, the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1995, and the Ohio Arts Council's Governor's Award in 1999. After his retirement, he wrote his memoir and has conferred a number of his ballets to former Ohio Ballet dancers. Poll passed away in 2006.

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