Think Globally, Dance Locally

Ballet troupe performs new pieces all with Cleveland connections.

Verb Ballets performs three new dance works set to scores by area composers at tonight's concert at the Cleveland Play House. According to Millie Carlson, a local arts philanthropist and musician who ponied up the cash for the program, "Composers everywhere have a very hard time getting their music heard. Arts groups have miserable money problems." But there's hope. "Dancers seem to latch onto avant-garde music," she says. "And audiences tend to be very receptive to new things."

Verb artistic director Hernando Cortez choreographed the trio of ballets. "Suite Française" features the music of Klaus Roy, who used to work for the Cleveland Orchestra. "Backlash" includes a saxophone and percussion score by Eric Ziolek, chair of Cleveland State University's music department. And "Six Easy Pieces" is based on piano music written by Jonathan Sheffer, artistic director of Red {an orchestra}. Ziolek and Sheffer's dances have received performances previously; "Suite Française," however, makes its world premiere. "I've known [Roy's] writing for years, but I'd never heard his music," says Carlson. "One day I heard something of his, and it struck me as very dancelike."
Fri., May 19, 8 p.m.