Summer Fun Guide 2013: Merging Motion

Verb Ballets' summer series melds cultures and styles to kick off its season.

Choreographer Antonio Brown's Passing By makes a visual statement with its intertwining bodies and movements, while the world premiere of Daryl Gray's dance, tentatively titled Judios con Salsa, merges influences from Jewish and Latin American cultures.

Both will be featured Aug. 3 as Verb Ballets kicks off its 2013-2014 season at Cain Park with a show that blends styles in unexpected ways as it illustrates the theme of its upcoming performances: fuse.

Gray chose to set Judios con Salsa to the music of composer Larry Harlow because of Harlow's Jewish heritage and multicultural upbringing. "Harlow grew up in New York, which is one big melting pot of cultures, and he lived in a Latin American neighborhood," Gray says. "His influence on modern Latin American music is so profound that people from South America recognize his name."

Verb Ballets' Aug. 3 performance at the Evans Ampitheater will also feature a currently untitled ballet mixing several styles of dance choreographed by Tommie-Waheed Evans, as well as a tribute to the late choreographer Heinz Poll with a revival of his famous work Andante Sostenuto.

Verb Ballets will also perform The Carnival of the Animals during a 30-minute children's matinee Aug. 2. Camille Saint-Saens' score provides the musical backdrop for football-playing lions, wrestling baboons and a dancing cuckoo bird hoping to make friends.

"[It] teaches us that everybody is different but at some level, everybody is the same," explains Richard Dickinson, Verb Ballets' education and outreach director and rehearsal director. "We should learn to accept each other's differences."

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