Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Dance Preview

Area dance presentations: Merce Cunningham, Verb Ballets, Ballet Hispanico,

Arts patrons will be happy to know that dance returns to the area with two internationally recognized companies and the “reconstituted” Verb Ballets. Presentations include:


Returning to Cleveland after 23 years, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company takes the stage on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 8 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre.

Considered “the world’s greatest living choreographer,” American modern dance icon Merce Cunningham shows his remarkable genius with every performance of his company. Included is the highly lauded 1970s work, Second Hand, which advanced his reputation for exploring the relationship between dance and music through collaborations with contemporary visual artists and musicians. This influential work features costumes by renowned visual artist Jasper Johns and a score by John Cage, Cunningham’s longtime collaborator and close artistic colleague.

Admission to the performance ranges from $25 to $60. For tickets call 216-241-6000 or go online to or To purchase tickets as part of a subscription package for VIVA & Gala Around Town, contact the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Box Office at 800-CMA-0033 or online at


On Saturday, February 7, 2009, Verb Ballets performs at Chagrin Falls High School, in the beautiful new Performing Arts Center. The family-friendly program includes Pamela Pribisco’s Peter and the Wolf; Ulysses Dove's Vespers; Hernando Cortez’s Darkwood; and two works by famed Ohio Ballet founder Heinz Poll: Duet, a romantic pas de deux, and the propulsive, captivating Bolero.

Verb Ballets’ company of dancers includes Danielle Brickman, Ashley Cohen, Katie Gnagy, Michael Medcalf, Catherine Meredith Lambert, Erin Conway Lewis, Brian Murphy, and Anna Roberts.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students, and are available by calling the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre box office at 440-247-8955 or by visiting


Acclaimed New York City-based Ballet Hispanico comes to the Ohio Theatre in PlayhouseSquare for performances on Feb. 20-21 as part of a 16-city national tour.

This dynamic company, whose diverse choreography is infused with traditional Latin and Spanish movements, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday evening and at a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, co-presented by DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College. Prior to the Saturday matinee performance, a family festival at 1 p.m. in the Ohio Theatre lobby will showcase Latin culture with dancing, drumming and family activities. Tri-C will also host a free Showtime at High Noon on Friday for students from noon-1 p.m.

A highlight of the Friday evening repertory will be Tito on Timbales, accompanied by the sizzling Latin Rhythm Percussion Ensemble performing live on stage with the company. Other dances on the program include: Club Havana, choreography by Pedro Ruiz; Tres Bailes by Jean Emile; and Ritmo y Ruido by Ann Reinking.

The Saturday matinee will celebrate Ballet Hispanico’s 39th anniversary under the leadership of Founder Tina Ramirez with the revival of Stages. The company will also dance Tito on Timbales and Ritmo y Ruido.

For tickets call 216-241-6000 or go online at For group tickets and for information about the Saturday matinee family festival call DANCECleveland at 216-991-9000