Thursday, Jun 30, 2016
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Music-Theater-Dance

Ballet Theatre of Toledo, SonoNovo collaboration a big hit

EDITOR'S NOTE: This version corrects the name of dancer Bobby Moody.

On Saturday night, while the Toledo Mud Hens tried in vain to overtake the Columbus Clippers at Fifth Third Field, Ballet Theatre of Toledo and SonoNovo Chamber Orchestra hit one out of the park a few blocks away in Trinity Episcopal Church.

Arts performances are evaluated differently from sports events. Instead of two teams going up against one another, artists count successful collaboration as a big win.

This was the third year of the partnership between Nigel Burgoine, Ballet Theatre's founder and artistic director, and Wayne Anthony, artistic guru of SonoNovo (the name is Italian for new sound).

Anthony handles all things musical; Burgoine supplies choreography. In recent years, music has been either by top composers of the past or original works by Anthony written to develop an idea Burgoine conjured.

Of all the dance companies in the region, Burgoine's is a lone holdout for live music for every public performance.

"This is what's good for them," he said last night after his dancers finished bringing lions, otters, kangaroos, birds, and even pianists and fossils to life backed by SonoNovo's lively music.

Last night's program paired two beloved orchestral works — Camille Saint-Saens' colorful "Carnival of the Animals" written in 1886 and Felix Mendelssohn's 1826 "Incidental Music for a Midsummer Night's Dream."

Burgoine didn't get fancy with his interpretations of the lion, hens and roosters, tortoises, kangaroos, birds, fish. A bit of pantomime and some good acting further appealed to the capacity audience, particularly when Aidan Fisher in simple gray top and bottom portrayed the Elephant. (His performance was dedicated to Lucas, the Toledo Zoo's newest pachyderm.)

Very much in the Swan Lake manner, dancer Anya Kress was a graceful swan and Sophia Schmitz and Claire Stoll caught the exact gestures of pianists. Sarah Gray and Erica Heath leapt and kicked powerfully as kangaroos.

The main event of the evening was Burgoine's choreographic take on Shakespeare's magical "Midsummer Night's Dream." His dancers told the complicated tale of love and deceit with grace and clarity and an ample serving of humor.

All the dancing was at least very good and some was excellent, especially Robert Rash (Oberon), Danielle Moseley (Titania), and Bobby Moody (Puck). The Mechanicals were delightful — eight boys ranging from early elementary through high school — whose play "Pyramus and Thisbe" helps bring the performance to a lively end. And bevies of fairies, attendants, nymphs, and sprites created a background of moving color and pattern, all the stage set used.

The program is to repeat at 2 p.m. today in Trinity Episcopal Church downtown.

Contact Sally Vallongo at: svallongo@theblade.com

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