Salute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Salute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers 

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Dancer Robert LaFosse has made a healthy career of bouncing back and forth between "serious" and "popular" dance--appearing as a principal of American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet on one hand and hoofing his way through musicals like Bob Fosse's Dancin' and Jerome Robbins's Broadway on the other. So it's no surprise that as a choreographer, LaFosse is proud to pay homage to Fred Astaire, whose ten films with Ginger Rogers in the 1930s redefined the movie musical. In this crowd-pleasing piece, LaFosse (who often dances in the work but will not do so here) offers his interpretation of the tap-happy Astaire-Rogers style: breezily lyrical, casually glamorous, whimsically inventive, and utterly American in its blend of self-deprecating humor and shy romanticism. Employing three couples and a medley of tunes by such composers as Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Vincent Youmans, Salute caps a "Stars of American Ballet" program that also features several classical war-horses--the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet (choreographed by Sean Lavery to Prokofiev's music), pas de deux from Giselle, Swan Lake, and Le Corsaire--and a collection of solos choreographed and danced by former ABT soloist Kevin O'Day to music by Henry Purcell, Richard Strauss, and Lyle Lovett. Besides O'Day, the company for this engagement includes Leslie Browne, Christine Dunham, Amanda McKerrow, Lindsay Fischer, and Jon Marshall Sharp. Saturday at 8 at Parmount Arts Centre, 23 E. Galena in Aurora; $18.50-$20.50. Call 708-896-6666 for tickets and info.

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