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You Are Going to Get Something
Kyle Minshew, The Red & Black
April 19, 2001

"A lot of people are scared by ballet," said UGA Ballet Ensemble director Joan Buttram. "It's like when you go to a museum thinking, 'I'm not going to get this.' But I really feel like this show has such variety that you are going to get something."


"Spring Gala 2001" is the ensemble's year-ending show, featuring various works ranging from classical romantic ballet to borderline modern pieces. As the University's pre-professional, auditioned ballet company, the dancers rehearse year round, preparing pieces to present at both the Concert Dance Company concert and at their annual spring show.

After last year's full-length production of the classical ballet "La Bayadere," Buttram wanted to change the mood of the dancer's work, giving this year a whole different flavor.

"I like to give them the opportunity to work with other choreographers," Buttram said "So I've had the opportunity to bring in five guest choreographers who all choreograph in a much different style. Some of them are very contemporary, which is great because I think that ballet is going to continue to evolve and become more

contemporary and to change and this prepares them for that."

The first half of this year's show will be a combination of pieces from guest choreographers Tom Morris, Molissa Fenley and Andrew Kuharsky. "Departure from Fifth," "Adjustable Wrench" and "Six" are pieces that range in style from more traditional ballet

to grooving to music from Bobby McFerrin. The second half of the show will be an act from the classical ballet "Gissele."

"An audience would see that although ballet is well known for its classical works," said Nikki Rachael, a member of the ensemble. "That we, as ballet dancers, can also do the thing that groups like CORE are

doing and more contemporary things that the ballroom group does."

Although people tend to approach ballet with some preconceived notions about its aesthetic, Buttram said, the art form is constantly shifting from what most people consider the "look" of ballet.

"I can remember when I was taking my thesis examinations for my masters," Buttram said. "And one of the questions was 'Do you think that the psyche of a modern dancer is different from a ballet dancer?' And that was a really tough question. In one aspect, dance is dance. I think people will always come back to trying to restage the 'classics' like they were originally done but it's going to have to move forward or it's going to become an archaic art form."

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