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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Change and Tradition at OBT

Posted by Jenna Lechner on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Mistakes were made: the Prodigal Son (Chauncey Parsons) crawls back to Papa (Brett Bauer).
  • James McGrew
  • Mistakes were made: the Prodigal Son (Chauncey Parsons) crawls back to Papa (Brett Bauer).

Oregon Ballet Theatre capped their season with big news. Several OBT dancers are retiring; Anne Mueller has stepped down as the company’s interim artistic director—Kevin Irving was named the new artistic director earlier in June, and the search continues for an executive director. This weekend was the final performance of the season; they rounded out their season this year with the program Celebrating Balanchine.

The show was both rich and technical, honoring the 20th century choreorapher George Balanchine on the 30th anniversary of his death. OBT added the biblical tale of the Prodigal Son to their repertoire. The piece comes from Balanchine's early years, from his studies with the notorious Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes; the set is vivid and bold, with scenes of feasts and dramatic skies; the dancing is feverish and exciting, with an incredible and convincing performance by Chauncey Parsons as the wayward Prodigal Son. Parsons runs up an angled table, then slides down it; the piece is punctuated by intense acrobatic moves that string together the narrative of the boy's descent into debauchery. The show began however with a lithe, precise performance of Balanchine’s "Square Dance," deemed an “audience favorite,” and ended on a soft note, with "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" and impressive grace.

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