Who knew? Prior to a few years ago, I’d never given much thought to the art and discipline of ballet. I’ve never been a dancer, and though I’ve always enjoyed watching dance, the extent of my experience with ballet consisted of an occasional trip to the Benedum at Christmastime to see the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre perform The Nutcracker. Or if by chance my ballet-loving friend Beth, who always had a season subscription to PBT, would take me along.
That all changed three years ago when my friend and fellow writer Luke, whose daughters are both ballerinas, invited me to a matinee performance by the Lake Charles Civic Ballet (LCCB). Unlike at the Benedum, where, invariably, I’d be sitting near the back and the dancers appeared as large ants onstage, at the Rosa Hart Theatre there’s no such thing as a bad seat. By sitting close to the stage, I can see every expression on the dancers’ animated faces. And I’ve discovered that these dancers are not only dancing: they are acting.
This was profoundly evident last weekend when my friend Mischelle and I attended LCCB’s spring performance, called Assemblé 2013. Assemblé is a French word (as well as a ballet term) meaning to come together. The show was appropriately named because LCCB’s goal was (and will continue to be) to bring together many various forms of art into one exciting show. Mission accomplished. I can’t recall a time when I have been so thoroughly entertained by such a variety of sights and sounds in one performance. The show combined a myriad of dance styles, musical genres with onstage musicians, and visual arts. I laughed. I cried. I said WOW!! a gazillion times. The show included classical ballet, Broadway, and original LCCB pieces. For the complete story, read my article in this recent Jambalaya News issue here.
Mischelle and I on the “red carpet,” eagerly anticipating the show.
From Graduation Ball.
West Side Story.
In Trepak, Death is a beautiful seductress.
In The Fable, an original LCCB piece, a group of blind men each experience an elephant in different ways – the ears, trunk, tusks, skin. “Only through multiple perspectives do we understand the truth,” said Lady Holly Hathaway Kaough, artistic director of LCCB.
LCCB’s next performance is May 19, 2013. If you live in southwest Louisiana, do yourself a favor and don’t miss it! And if you aren’t one already, you’ll become a ballet buff like me.
Photos used courtesy of Danley Romero of Romero and Romero Photography and with permission by the Lake Charles Civic Ballet.