7 Deadly Sins from BalletMet and Shadowbox Live

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Using the seven deadly sins as fodder for art is as old as sin itself, and BalletMet and Shadowbox Live are premiering their interpretation of the vices in a new rock 'n' roll ballet.

It's a strange pairing - ballerinas and guitar slingers.

"This is the first collaboration of its kind between two such unlikely collaborators," said Stev Guyer, CEO of Shadowbox Live. "I think people will be very, very surprised."

During the show, members of Shadowbox Live's band will be on one side of the stage performing the original music while BalletMet's troupe dances near them.

"They will certainly feed off of each other," said Gerard Charles, artistic director of BalletMet. "It will be very dynamic."

The two groups have drawn inspiration from each other for more than a year as Shadowbox Live and choreographers created the show's music. This task presented particular challenges.

"Choreographers have a completely different list of things they listen to," Guyer said. "They see the trees instead of the forest. The way the music needs to insinuate itself into the dance is utterly different than what I usually listen for."

Resulting works include songs that "sound like Trent Reznor wrote them," hammering metal takedowns and guitar lullabies. The music for "Gluttony" is a deconstruction of the classical piece "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens.

Renowned choreographers - including James Kudelka, the man behind last year's noteworthy Johnny Cash piece in BalletMet's "American Legends," and Amy Seiwert, director of a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco - present their takes on different sins.

Conceptually and physically, "they are seven very different pieces," Charles said.

Gina Patterson's "Lust" explores the sin's underlying effects, not just the hot and heavy surface. "Pride," by Ma Cong, forgoes guilt and celebrates the act of being proud.

"Wrath," by Darrell Grand Moultrie, includes video elements and screaming dancers. It is emotionally the most difficult for the performers.

BalletMet dancer Jimmy Orrante choreographed "Greed," in which the dancers collectively create a structure out of boxes, only to have one man claim it all for himself.

At the end of the sequence, "the dancing becomes primal. I wanted you to see him change," to see the man become a manifestation of the sin, Orrante said.

The costumes create cohesion among the seven different pieces. Brightly colored outfits pop from a palette of white, gray and black.

The collaboration, in its many pieces, will come together and "live up to expectations," Charles predicted. Besides, there's a reason the lore of the seven deadly sins have stood the test of time.

"We were watching a rehearsal the other day, and the catharsis at the end is unpredictable," said Charles, noting that sin lives in everyone. "That is really where it connects us as human beings."

Get deadly:

Capitol Theatre

77 S. High St., Downtown

April 29-May 7