At a time when American military personnel are courageously defending freedom in some of the world’s most troubled and dangerous places, Houston Repertoire Ballet is planning a very special day of dance to honor those efforts. The program, titled “Salute to American Dance: A Patriotic Tribute,” will be performed three times on April 24th. The non-profit H.R.B. will recognize Veterans, Service Personnel, and First Responders with free admission to all performances, and all of those very special guests will be honored during the program.
With a cast of 60 energetic young dancers, the electrifying “fireworks” of this tribute begin with a roar, as we enter a 1920’s “Speakeasy” club. A “Slim-Sham” revue of chorus girls and guys infuse a cabaret with “all that jazz” so typical of Chicago’s nightclubs of the era. Choreographer Leeyan Granger-Neeley, employing a dynamic cross-section of American choreography and music, has designed 4 vignettes in “Shall We Dance”. In a razzle-dazzle, art deco dance, her dancers swirl huge fans adorned with Mardi Gras masks and black feathers. Then the mood changes for another Neeley dance piece titled “Havana.” Influenced by the heat of Cuban, South American and Caribbean dance styles, the ballet features couples moving together to the sultry notes of Kenny Gee.
Just when things seem too hot and sultry, a cool breeze takes us to heaven. The stage flows with liquid dancers in “Celestial Music”. Renowned choreographer, Sandra Organ, artistically designs this contemporary piece. Dressed in raspberry pink gowns, the dancers virtually float through life’s moments. One moment of life flows into another as the audience experiences life’s inevitable stages through dance. And if it is love that gives life its greatest meaning, then HRB’s Artistic Director, Gilbert Rome, is on the right track with the romantic choreography of “Romance,” set to the music of Dovorak. On stage, to the accompaniment of exquisite violins, three couples court their soul mates, reminding us that life’s only true regret is never having loved at all.
During the Intermission at the full performances, Veterans, Service Personnel, and First Responders will be invited to stand as they and their families are honored. According to HRB officials: “…it is our privilege to acknowledge the sacrifice of those present and our debt to them. Freedom is not free. On the one hand Veterans have paid the price for us to preserve America’s best traditions, and on the other they have protected our freedom to create with innovation.”
Choreographed by Co-Artistic Director, Victoria Vittum, the marches of the explosive Grande Finale feature John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” with dancers costumed in patriotic red, white, and blue. It promises to be a real reminder of what it means to be an American. Don’t miss it!
Full performances are Saturday, April 24th at 2:30 and 7:00 p.m. Seating is Reserved. Students and seniors are $10, Adults $15. A special Arts and Education Performance (at 11:00 a.m. that same day) is an abbreviated performance for children, Girl Scouts, and special needs groups. Youngsters at this performance will learn theater etiquette and receive a free booklet. Bring your camera, as performers will available for photos with your child after the show. Reserved Seats for this special performance are $7. All performances are at Tomball High School Auditorium. To purchase tickets call Houston Repertoire Ballet at 281-257-3400 or go to www.hrbdance.org. You may also call The Regional Arts Council (TRAC) at 281-351-2787, or go to Klein Supermarket at 1200 W. Main in Tomball.
(The Courier 4.18.04)
(The Villager 4.29.04)