Ballet Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ballet Chicago 

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George Balanchine looked for a certain savagery in dancing. Former New York City ballet principal dancer Daniel Duell, now artistic director of Ballet Chicago, once overheard Mr. B complaining to a dancer about English training: the choreographer described it as being like the elaborate process of making a very small, very polite cup of tea, from which one was allowed to take only one tiny sip. "Not me," he said. "In Russia we have bread in one hand and a big bowl of soup in the other." Balanchine once told Duell that his dancing was "so pretty, it's going to ruin my ballet!," an observation Duell dutifully recalls in Francis Mason's book of interviews, I Remember Balanchine. There Duell also remarks that Mr. B "had a. way of gathering loyalty by not demanding it." Now Ballet Chicago performs "A Tribute to Balanchine," putting its own gloss on the hard-edged Rubies and the softer but still multifaceted Square Dance. Rounding out the program is resident choreographer Gordon Peirce Schmidt's In a Nutshell, a campy modern version of The Nutcracker performed to Duke Ellington's sprightly jazz take on Tchaikovsky's music. It's a hoot, and very nicely danced by Petra Adelfang as Clara and by the BC dancers in the divertissements Schmidt has so delightfully skewed. Next Thursday through Saturday, February 25-27, at 7:30 at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker, $15-$35 (Saturday night is a benefit; call 993-7575 for info). Tickets at 902-1500.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jennifer Girard.

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