Houston Ballet's Modern Masters Presents 3 Distinct Dance Performances

Dancers get earthy and down in Jardi Tancat
Dancers get earthy and down in Jardi Tancat
Photo by Amitava Sarkar

Ballet lovers of all types as well as people not too sure what part of the art form appeals to them will have a chance to look at it in some variety as the Houston Ballet presents Modern Masters, a program featuring three distinctive dance performances.

Oliver Halkowich, a soloist with the Houston Ballet will be dancing two roles; he's in George Balanchine's Ballo della Regina and Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat.

Halkowich did the same roles five years ago and thinks he's doing them both better now since, he says, he understands them more clearly.

"The Balanchine piece is very abstract. There's a bit of a story. The guy is a fisherman. We're looking for this pearl which is the girl. But it's abstract. It's a challenging role. It's a lot of jumping and fast footwork."

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In Jardi there are three couples. "It's earthy and down. It's kind of this story of Spanish workers. We've been given a lot of images of lifting carts of oranges and planting and sowing and that sort of imagery to get us down into the ground and moving in this heavier earthy feeling."

The other piece, Etudes, takes the dancers onward from beginning work at the rehearsal bar. "I think the exciting thing about a lot of the mixed repertory programs we do is there's got to be something in there for everyone," Halkwich says.

"With Jardi you have this beautiful Spanish music from Catalonia that I think that a lot of people can relate to. There's a lot of feeling and emotion in the music and if your cup of tea is not classical ballet then this is probably the one for you. And then the Balanchine ballet is Verdi, it's really quick, it's exciting and really uses that extreme classical technique. With those two ballets you are really getting everything you would want in dance. And then Etudes is just such a firework."

Modern Masters runs March 12-21. 7:30 p.m. March 12,14, 20 and 21; 2 p.m. March 15 at the Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Avenue. For information, call 713-227-2787or visit houstonballet.org. $20 to $195.

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