Review: BalletMet's Up Close

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Up close, you hear the dancers breathe. You feel the vibrations as their feet hit the floor. You see their efforts become art. BalletMet is presenting two new pieces and two welcome revivals in its intimate Performance Space so you can soak it all in.

Company dancer Jimmy Orrante has created several dances for BalletMet in recent years, but "Watercolor," with music by fellow company dancer Gabriel Gaffney Smith, may be his most distinctive so far. Both choreographer and composer play with notions of water, from the single raindrop opening to the waves the six dancers mimic, in this world premiere.

David Parsons' "Portinari" is unfortunately less impressive. Inspired by Brazilian painter Candido Portinari, this lifeless duet is new to BalletMet, but inspired it's not.

That is exactly the word, however, to describe James Kudelka's "The Man in Black," which BalletMet first performed last April.

Constructed from what appear to be simple movements and set to six covers sung by Johnny Cash, "Black" keeps the dancers in constant motion. It's devoid of frills yet as stark and moving as Cash's voice itself.

Harrison McEldowney's "Group Therapy" is a delightful finale. Four couples act out their idiosyncrasies: One duo revels in fighting, a second includes a randy female and a clean-freak male, a third finds the woman trying to hide her smoking habit and the last features a woman who can't stay awake.

"UpClose" is BalletMet at its most personal.

Up Close

Through March 26

BalletMet Performance Space

322 Mount Vernon Ave., Downtown

balletmet.org