Contemporary ballet comes to SheldonThe James Sewell Ballet, which one reviewer described as “not your grandmother’s ballet,” will bring its unique dance stylings to the Sheldon Theatre at 7 p.m. March 2.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
The James Sewell Ballet, which one reviewer described as “not your grandmother’s ballet,” will bring its unique dance stylings to the Sheldon Theatre at 7 p.m. March 2.
The performance is the capstone of a residency in Red Wing which also will include two public workshops (see related story). The Sewell company has been developing a relationship with the Sheldon in recent years, including regular appearances and special opportunities for young dancers from the local area.
The Sheldon performance will be a compilation of past dance performances, according to a company spokesman.
Based in the Twin Cities, the company has studios at the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts in downtown Minneapolis. James Sewell Ballet presents spring and fall performances there each year, plus it is known for its cutting-edge “Ballet Works Project,” which features new works by emerging and established choreographers.
Sewell and Sally Rousse founded the company in New York City and brought it to Minnesota in 1993. They shared a vision of a close-knit company of dance artists will to challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet.
The result is a critically acclaimed company of eight professional dancers who perform work that explores the technical boundaries of ballet.
New York Times reviewer Anna Kisselgoff called them “a polished gem of a chamber dance troupe,” adding that Sewell is “one of American ballet’s most inventive choreographers. … Different and unpredictable, this is the company to see.”
The company’s dances embody both classical ballet and modern dance.
A tour performance to rural Minnesota inspired Susan Anderson of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal to alert audiences to expect something special.
“Forget about the cliché idea of a night at the ballet,” she wrote. “Think attitude, wit, and startling imagery. Think smart, contemporary haircuts, an array of unexpected and evocative costumes, and a smattering of tattoos.”
Both Sewell and Rousse brought years of experience to the company.
Sewell, who continues as artistic director and choreographer, studied at the School of American Ballet and became lead dancer with Feld Ballets of New York and a guest artist with other ballets. An award-winning artist, he has choreographed more than 70 ballets for companies around the world.
Rousse is a contemporary dancer and choreographer. She also trained at the School of American Ballet and performed as a leading dancer with Ballet Chicago and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. The award-winning dancer also has studied improvisation and created works that were performed across the country.
The company includes seven additional dancers: Nicky Coelho, Leah Gallas, Cory Goei, Chris Hannon, Anton LaMon, Nic Lincoln and Eve Schulte.
Dances in the company’s current repertoire include “Winter,” featuring music by Antonio Vivaldi and choreography by Sewell; “Giselle Pas De Deux,” danced by Gallas and Goei; “Freemartin Twin,” choreographed by Rousse; “Liberate,” choreographed by Goei; “Prestidigitations: Rings,” music by Scott Joplin, choreographed by Sewell; and “Grave Matters,” music by Prokofiev, choreographed by Sewell.
Tickets to the March 2 ballet are $22.50 for adults, $14.50 for students. For information or reservations, visit the theater at 443 W. Third St.; call 651-388-8701 or 800-899-5759, or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org. For more about the ballet company, check the Website www.jsballet.org.
James Sewell dancers offer free workshops
The James Sewell Ballet is expanding on its ongoing relationship with the Sheldon Theatre by offering two free workshops in connection with its March 2 performance at the historic theater.
• A master dance workshop with professionals from the company will be from 6:15 to 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 28 at the Shoreline Dance studio, 133 Hedin Ave. The session is free, but advance registration is required as space is limited. Call 651-385-0252 to sign up.
• James Sewell will lead “Body Mind Wellness” at 10:15 a.m. Saturday March 2 at the Red Wing YMCA, 434 Main St. Sewell is the co-founder, artistic director and choreographer for the company. Over the past three decades he has choreographed dozens of ballets and composed the music for nine of them.
His workshop will focus on “intentful movement” that strengthens mind and body connections.
“Motor skills are the movement skills that we learn throughout our lives and are essentially creative in nature,” according to ballet officials. “While our bodies are ‘instinctually’ and autonomously tuned to respond to situations at hand, we are also equipped to design our movements in highly sophisticated and ‘intentful’ ways.”
Sewell believes that dance represents a practiced approach to the design of movement, and that ballet engages artist/athletes at the highest levels of physical demand. His “Body Mind Wellness” approach aims to make intentful movement accessible, fun and beneficial to physical and also to mental wellbeing.
This session also is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Call 651-388-4724 or go online to www.redwingymca.org.
If you go...
What: James Sewell Ballet
When: 7 p.m. March 2
Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St.
How much: $22.50 adults, $14.50 students
More info: 651-388-8701, 800-899-5759 or www.sheldontheatre.org