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Julia Osborne wrote a great review of Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater’s star-studded fifth anniversary concert at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts on May 29. The show included works by such choreographers as Ulysses Dove, Lorenzo Rennie Harris and LVCDT artistic director Bernard Gaddis, among others. The article has some nice interpretations of the choreography and Osborne gave the show a sparkling review, noting that the concert was excellent despite a few technical malfunctions.

To read the full story, visit the Las Vegas Review-Journal website here.


Update 5/27/12: For some great insight on the artistic work behind Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater’s Smith Center debut, click here for a preview from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

5/23/12: Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater will be stepping onstage at the Smith Center on May 29, backed by a program featuring work by Ulysses Dove, Milton Meyers, Rennie Harris and LVCDT artistic director Bernard Gaddis. The concert will mark the beginning of the company’s spring 2012 concert season and will celebrate its five-year tenure in Las Vegas.

If you’d like to see Dove’s legendary “Vespers,” “Variations” by Meyers, Harris’ “Lifted” or the Vegas classic “Opulence” by Gaddis (as well as a new work, “Metamorphosis II,” by the same), hit up the Smith Center at 7:30 p.m. on May 29. The star-studded program and appropriately elegant venue will likely underscore the artistic quality of the company nicely.

Tickets are $27-$65 and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Smith Center box office at 702-749-2000.

Tomorrow’s the big day! NBT will be joined in concert by Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Carla Korbes and Seth Orza and American Ballet Theater’s Herman Cornejo in celebration of NBT’s 40th year and its debut at the Smith Center. Pop musician Matt Goss will be accompanying a new work by Canfield to top off the evening.

“Red Angels,” a work by Ulysses Dove, is on the docket (PNB soloists Lucien Postlewaite and Sarah Ricard Orza will join in for that one), as is the infamous “Serenade” by George Balanchine. On KNPR’s “State of Nevada” program this morning, Canfield and Boal spoke of the Balanchine with a kind of reverence, and they both acknowledging the almost religious feeling that accompanies the number. Pair that with NBT dancers and live music and you’re good to go.

If this tease isn’t quite enough for you, drop by the KNPR website to listen to the full story. The concert is tomorrow, May 5, at 7 p.m. at the Smith Center. Tickets range from $43-$128 and can be purchased online or by calling 702-749-2000.

Nevada Ballet Theatre won’t be alone when it steps a slippered foot onstage in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center on May 5: an impressive lineup of guest musicians and dancers will join in for the thoroughly dance-centric debut of “Dance, Music, Style and Class.” NBT is celebrating its 40-year tenure in Las Vegas this season and is the resident ballet company of the new venue.

If the splendor of the new performing arts center isn’t enough to make concert-goers a little weak in the knees, the artists that will grace the stage probably will. NBT will open the concert with George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” set to Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings,” and will be backed by members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic orchestra.

Live music, check.

Carla Korbes and Seth Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet are set to dance the classic White Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake,” and Lucien Postlewaite and Sarah Ricard Orza, also from PNB, will join them for “Red Angels,” a contemporary work by the esteemed Ulysses Dove. Mary Rowell, concertmaster of Radio City Music Hall, will be accompanying the dancers on electric violin for “Red Angels,” exemplifying Dove’s signature drama and excitement.

Gilded guest artists, check.

But wait, there’s more! American Ballet Theater’s principal Herman Cornejo will contribute his balletic two cents as well. NBT is slated to top off the evening with an original piece by artistic director James Canfield that’s set to the music of Matt Goss and his band, which headlines at Ceasears Palace. Goss and his posse have been called the “Best New Act in Vegas” by the L.A. Times, making the group a natural partner for another of Canfield’s collaborative forays into pop culture.

Strong local vibe and multi-genre jamming? Check and check.

Whew. Got all that? If you’d like to see the show, hit up the NBT box office online or call the Smith Center at 702-749-2000. Tickets are $43, $68, $98 and $128 (plus fees). $503 nets access to a gala reception with the artists after the concert. The show starts at 7 p.m. on May 5 at, you got it, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Guest choreographers Miguel Perez and Zane Booker joined forces with LVCDT’s Bernard Gaddis for the company’s spring concert on May 6-8 at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre. The program featured four pieces, one from each of the guest artists and two, including the anticipated frog-work “Phib,” from Gaddis.

Perez’s “Emergence” was a twining, full-bodied and expressive piece that seemed to sponge up emotion and release it when called upon. Lovely adage work from the girls and a playful duet lightened the somewhat staid tone and contemporary choreography spiked with classical lines furthered this dichotomy. The glimmer of individuals throughout the piece made the movement simultaneously surreal and relatable. Effective use of music and light lent a feeling of time passing and the result was a sobering but optimistic experience for the audience.

Gaddis’ “Sacrifus,” a study in choice and consequence, began the second act with a compelling male duet and a kind of visual percussion that the company does well. Many of the interactions between the dancers built to the charged third movement of the piece, which culminated in a galvanic stand-off between the men and women. Throughout the number ran an undercurrent of complex relationships, all blanketed by a burning energy and ferocious partnering. Looking for the human moments in the piece was one of the pleasures.

Two pieces capitalized on a healthy measure of novelty. “Portraits,” by Booker, was part period-piece to sax and brass and part edgy, contemporary concert dance. Recitations of literature introduced each character in the small cast and gave the audience an idea of what they were in for; robust movement followed shortly and gave these artistic greats some context. (Such figures as Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Gloria Steinem and Byron Hurt were represented.)

The choreography itself was busy and detailed, a fact the dancers took mostly in stride. This kind of number meshes well with the artistic strength of the dancers and the confidence that emanated from each was gratifying to see.

“Phib” hopped into the final slot of the show as a fantastic summation and a number that holds great promise for outreach programs. Giggles from the audience began right away, but it was clear that the dancers took this frog business very seriously. A watery, reedy feel set the stage for splayed-legged rolls and ballet-mistress-approved grand plies. The choreography itself was interesting in that the character movement rang distantly of funk in the precisely timed isolations and a sweet duet midway through the piece lent some emotional depth. Kudos also go to Gaddis for resisting the temptation of too much silliness, because the piece certainly benefited from it.

LVCDT has a distinct genre that they dance well and this concert showcased this effectively. There is also something about seeing a posse of frogs applauding their artistic director that is not to be missed.

Neither is the fall concert series. LVCDT will be performing “Vespers” by choreography icon Ulysses Dove on November 4-6. Keep an eye on their website here for more information.