The dancers at Ballet Repertory are lacing their toe shoes to the steps of audience favorites for their 25th anniversary this weekend.
Normally tied to a theme, this year organizers asked audience members to name their favorite original productions for the annual show.
Artistic director Katherine Giese pared down 25 choices to seven being performed next weekend at the KiMo Theatre.
“It’s not the classics like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or ‘Swan Lake,’” Giese said, adding she chose the finalists based on variety and available dancers.
“There were some surprises,” she said. “I was surprised that people remembered things from so far back. I was also surprised that so many of my own pieces were voted on and I was very honored by it.”
Giese’s “Oblácek” (2010) opens the program with the Czech word for “fluffy, like clouds,” she said.
“The girls are in white ball gowns and the men are in tuxes. The way the dresses moved influenced the choreography. It was all about being pretty.”
Celia Dale’s “Triptych” (1996) is a more modern piece based on Medieval religious paintings.
Beth Griffin’s “Macabre” (2011) features music by Saint-Saëns based on a poem by the French symbolist writer Henri Cazalis. Expect dancing minions and a skeleton or two.
Giese’s “Woken, Wishing, Willing” (1999) is set to music by the English/Australian music project Dead Can Dance. Comprised of four dancers clad in leotards and slit pants, it’s an earthy piece, she said.
“People like to call it the jungle piece,” she added.
Choreographer Alex Ossadnik set “Pierrot” (1997) to the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Designed as a solo, it features a masked male dancer struggling to break free of confinement.
Giese set her “Actaeon” (2011) to the music of Philip Glass. Based on the mythological Greek herdsman and the huntress Diana, it opens with a hunting party celebration. Giese said she was inspired to create this contemporary, barefooted dance after seeing Martha Graham’s dance troupe. Graham has been called the mother of modern dance.
The program ends with Ossadnik’s “Seasons of Buenos Aires” (2008) set to the music of Argentinian tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Ossadnik was inspired to create the piece after watching the 1969 film “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” starring Jane Fonda. The movie is about a 1930s dance marathon.
“It’s a very artsy piece,” Giese said. “Somebody actually called it performance art. The dancers are dressed in black sexy dresses and they have numbers on their backs like they’re in a contest. (It’s) the idea that they were willing to do that just for food because the times were so desperate.”
The dancers will perform the piece on the bare stage, with the back doors open to reveal the street