By Kathi E.B. Ellis for WFPL
For this year’s Choreographers Showcase, the Louisville Ballet has taken last year’s inclusion of spoken word in the program up a notch by intentionally partnering with area poets. The seven works that emerged — created by pairing the poets with seven company choreographers — all shared a common thread of exploring and interpreting society. The ones that were most successful were those that most specifically integrated word and movement.
In his curtain speech, Producing and Artistic Director Robert Curran further articulated the contemporary thrust of the evening: work that responds to the many ‘ism’s, systemic and personal, that we face in today’s world.
The most overtly political of the works was choreographer Helen Daigle’s “Perspective,” set to poet Steve Cambron’s “Don’t Mess With My Sky.” Dancers Justin Michael Hogan and Rob Morrow embraced the sharp, aggressive choreography of their respective, polar opposite, perspectives. In the third movement, dancer Emily Reinking O’Dell offered the hope of coming together through more lyrical moves. The final moment was of affirmation as the two men came together to lift O’Dell up, looking up to the sky, whose shade of blue was at the metaphorical root of the men’s differences.
Brandon Ragland has choreographed many pieces for the company and for the showcase he was explosively paired with poet Hannah Drake and three powerful poems in “A Time…A Place.”