Saturday, March 30, 2019

PREVIEW: "Dream Aloud" at Ballet Lubbock

by Shane Strawbridge
Ballet Lubbock's Dream Aloud

Two times a year, you can find Executive Director Nicholas Dragga—clad in his trademark grey suit—welcoming audiences to Ballet Lubbock’s Open Barre, a preview of their upcoming mainstage performance. This time around, it is a preview of Dream Aloud, an evening of original choreography set to live vocal performances including solo singers, the Texas Tech Women's Chorale, the Joyful Noise Gospel Choir, and the West Texas Children's Chorus.

"There has been this powerful connection made between the breath of the singers and the breath of the dancers in all of our rehearsals," says Artistic Director Yvonne Racz Key. "We chose vocal music instead of instrumental because I want to do something different when we do our mixed repertory concerts. We have done percussion with the Texas Tech Percussion Ensemble, and we did our groundbreaking Click performance with original music composed by Scott and Amy Faris. We have never done vocal music, so this was a first."

At this preview, approximately 160 patrons were treated to an amuse-bouche of four dance pieces from the show, which is a slightly different format from the usual Open Barre experience.

"We wanted to give a sneak preview to give the audience an idea of what this performance will be like," says Racz Key. "Our usual working rehearsal would have been difficult to have the singers keep stopping and starting, which is how a working rehearsal usually runs. We thought the best way to show the public what the performance was going to be would be to get the dancers and the singers performing in the same room."

Audiences who attend the full performances on April 5 and 6 will have the privilege of watching Marcos Antonio Vasquez dancing with Deborah de Farias in a piece choreographed by Yvonne Racz Key. The performance is accompanied by live music from Corbin DeSpain and Becca Zeisler. Vasquez moves with a power that is full of grace, both comforting and intimidating. De Farias flows like a willow before transforming into a sort of wind herself. Vocals from DeSpain are sharp and clear without pulling any attention from the powerful choreography orchestrated by Racz Key.

Dancers also collaborate on multiple pieces with the Joyful Noise Gospel Choir, including a particularly memorable creation built upon “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” juxtaposing harsh, angular movements against flowing and full gospel harmonies.

Throughout the evening, there is so much going on, you hardly know where to focus your attention. One audience member confirmed as much in the talkback, exclaiming happily that she didn’t know where to look. Rest assured, wherever you decide to cast your eyes, all of it is satisfying to witness.

Ballet Lubbock presents "Dream Aloud" on April 5 and 6 at the Civic Center Theatre, 1501 Mac Davis Lane in Lubbock, Texas. Tickets are available online through Select-a-Seat.

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