As the lights slowly came up, you could see the silhouettes of the dancers. Richmond Ballet’s Studio 4.
I’ve been honored to be an audience member of Richmond Ballet’s studio performances many times before. But this time… was different. I was not only beyond impressed, but I was overjoyed with the Ballet’s risks they took. Ballet + Contemporary + Hip-Hop in a city that still walks on cobblestones? And to push that even further the amazing choreographer, Val Caniparoli, said, “There is no deep story here…” His piece was simply about loving dance.
I watched as the audience members, regardless of age, bobbed their heads and twisted their shoulders with the beat. It was contagious. It was unstoppable. I watched as women tilted their heads to the side feeling the loss and the hopelessness the dancers portrayed in Jessica Lang’s piece, Women and the Sea: A Tribute to Will Barnet.
As the years have gone by, dance has evolved into something… ef·fer·ves·cent. It touches you, tingles inside, and leaves you walking away revived and aware. But ballet companies don’t have to follow the bends and curves that trends make of dance. They can stick to their always beautiful, can’t-go-wrong classical ways. Who doesn’t like to see an elongated leg, a fabulous pointed foot, and arms in a perfect fifth position?
Richmond Ballet has both honored their classical roots, while jazzing it up… adding a hip there, some shoulders rolls there. While the dancers still wore the proper tight buns, they had little smirks on their face, and a little sass in their step.
I am honored to be living in a city that has a Ballet company and Artistic Director who reach beyond, and not only perfectly execute a bold piece, but leave every single audience member smiling on their way home, aching for more.
Studio 4 runs until May 8: Purchase tickets and support your local artists