If you still haven't made plans for Valentine's Day weekend, it's not too late. The Orlando Ballet rolls out the red carpet with Hollywood en Pointe, an elegant evening of dance inspired by the silver screen.
If you don't know the difference between a plié and a pas de chat, it doesn't matter; Hollywood en Pointe is not just for the typical ballet crowd. The performance is part of an ongoing effort by artistic director Robert Hill to make the Orlando Ballet more relevant and less intimidating to today's audiences. Recent shows like the edgy Vampire's Ball and modern Battle of the Sexes are meant to appeal to a wider audience. Hollywood en Pointe uses music from classic and modern movies as a focal point – recognizing the theme from Mission Impossible or a James Bond movie adds a degree of familiarity to the performance that helps the audience make an instant connection with what's happening on stage.
Principally choreographed by Hill, the performance also incorporates work from Orlando Ballet dancer Arcadian Broad and a debut piece called Touching Drops from guest choreographer Peter Chu.
Chu relies on the music from the movie Love Story as the inspiration for his piece. "I have a definite urban aesthetic, but I didn't shy away from the classic elements in my piece," says Chu (below), who is known for his electric, pulsing style. "It's physical, emotional, intense. I hope the public will feel those emotions."
"I like movement that is fluid, crisp and juicy – like biting into an apple," says Chu, who marries his contemporary style with the classic form of ballet. He's got a hidden gem at the end of his piece that he won't reveal. "I hope the end touches the audience," he says.
Although Chu has danced in Celine Dion's Vegas show and a Christina Perri music video, and also directs his own dance company, this weekend's performance is his first collaboration with a professional ballet company. Making his debut in Orlando is an incredible honor for Chu, who grew up in Cocoa Beach. "It feels great to be back home."
Movies are packed with action and emotion. Expect the same in this glamorous, Hollywood-inspired ballet as the cinematic scores are brought to life by the dancers on the stage.
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.