Fresh off a ‘Nutcracker’ tour that set an attendance record, American Midwest Ballet’s dancers are at work this week on ‘Momentum’ — the February 11-12 production that will be the company’s first mixed-repertory program.
“On December 17 and 18 we premiered our new version of The Nutcracker at the Sami Bedell Center in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and it was a wonderful experience,” artistic director Erika Overturff said. “The community was tremendously enthusiastic – the Sami Center management told us that both performances broke an attendance record that had stood since the center opened.
“After that success with a traditionally structured ballet, we’re looking forward to showing audiences our versatility in Momentum.”
Overturff explained that until now, American Midwest Ballet’s programs been examples of full-length ballet: a program consisting of a single work with a storyline that runs from beginning to end. Most 19th-century classics and many modern ballets – from Swan Lake and Coppélia to American Midwest Ballet’s own Swing, Swing, Swing! and The Nutcracker – are full-length works, she said.
A mixed-repertory program such as Momentum, she said, is a varied collection of shorter ballets that stand individually. Pioneered by Serge Diaghilev’s famous Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in the early 20th century, the mixed-repertory format gives audiences an appealing blend of performing styles that shows off ballet’s wide artistic range, she said.
Choreographers and works on the Momentum program are:
- Elizabeth Nesi’s Da’Irah (the circle)
- Kennet Oberly’s Summerwinds
- Erika Overturff’s Connemara (making its premiere on this program)
- Harrison McEldowney’s Call It Off
- Edward Truitt’s Empty Embrace
- Tatiana Bechenova’s staging of Mikhail Fokine’s 1909 ballet Prince Igor
Momentum also offers audiences a choice of locations: American Midwest Ballet will perform it at the Iowa Western Community College Arts Center on Friday, February 11, and Joslyn Art Museum’s Witherspoon Concert Hall on Saturday, February 12.
“Part of our mission is to bring dance to a wider public,” Overturff said, “and one of the best ways to do that is to perform in different locations. With a choice of venues and an exciting range of styles, Momentum should be a great introduction for newcomers as well as a treat for our established fans.”
Momentum is presented with the support of the Iowa West Foundation, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.
Photo gallery: American Midwest Ballet’s new Nutcracker in Spirit Lake