Toledo area dance aficionados have been treated this season to eclectic performances ranging from classical ballet to folk dance.
Highlighting the offerings at the Franciscan Center was a compelling early January performance of swing dance-inspired works by Ohio Ballet. Coming up will be the Russian Seasons Dance Company on Saturday. Closing the Franciscan season on April 9 will be a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit by ODC/San Francisco.
Toledo Ballet continues to balance the old with the new. After putting on its 59th annual production of The Nutcracker last fall, the company is now busy preparing a new production of Delibes's Coppelia. Featured will be Toledo Ballet artistic director Nigel Burgoine in the role of Dr. Coppelius, as well as over 100 dancers from the company and teaching studio ranks.
Toledo Ballet took part in Toledo First Night for the second year when it presented Ballet Under Glass from the third floor of the SeaGate Centre to an audience watching from the street below.
Toledo Ballet has also ventured into the presenting business. In November the company joined forces with Valentine Theatre management to bring in Tangokinesis. In March the organizations will co-sponsor Paddy Noonan's Irish Cabaret featuring Toledo native Darragh Carr.
As they did last year, Toledo Ballet will offer classes in a variety of dance-related topics during an intensive summer course scheduled in the month of June. Last November the school brought in Cuba teacher Laura Alonso for a two-day workshop.
The Parsons Dance Company performed on the BGSU Festival Series in November. Earlier, the Ohio Ballet appeared at BGSU as part of an Arts Unlimited residency for teachers and students. The Ballet d'Afrique Noire will present The Mandinka Epic in BGSU's Kobacker Hall on March 13.
Cassandra Ballet made its annual appearance with the Toledo Concert Band at the Music Under the Stars series. The two ensembles have teamed up every summer since 1979. April will be a busy month for Cassandra Ballet. First, the young dancers will team up with ODC/San Francisco for the Franciscan Center performance of The Velveteen Rabbit. Rehearsals are already under way for the company's annual Franciscan Center-based Spring Workshop. Slated for those performances are "S'Wonderful" choreographed by New York City Ballet's Frank Ohman and a medley of Jewish folk dance.
Master classes with Olivier Pardina of the Harid Conservatory of Boca Raton, Fla., are slated in the Cassandra Ballet studios the week of June 12.