“American Ballet Theatre (A History)” will screen Saturday, October 14 at 7 p.m. at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., Gary, IN. A $12 donation includes admission to the screening, popcorn, a soft drink, and the introduction by Larry Lapidus. There will be a cash bar.
Filmgoers will find documentary about American Ballet Theatre is tutu much!
GARY, IN – Ballet and documentary fans will want to grab their closest friend and do a pas de deux over to the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts in the Miller Beach section of Gary.
That’s where, on Saturday, Oct. 14, the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District will present “American Ballet Theatre (A History).” The Rick Burns documentary will be introduced by Larry Lapidus, a member of the MBACD Board of Directors. He is also on the board of the Near North Chapter of Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he procures speakers and singers for fundraising events, as well as being a volunteer lecturer for community outreach.
One of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, the ABT was founded in 1939 by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant, and was named “America’s National Ballet Company” by the United States Congress in 2006. “The evolution of ABT began with the great dancers immigrating to America from Russian over one hundred years ago,” Lapidus said. “Their influence on the company is still felt through much of the performances — Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ and ‘The Rite of Spring’ are danced even today.”
Legends like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, Natalia Makarova, and Erik Bruhn have helped ABT leap into the international spotlight. “It’s the most renowned dance company in America and it performs all over the world,” Lapidus explained. “It has had more influence than any other company in the classical ballet world. The training program and rehearsal time is extensive. Even after so many years, the ABT still maintains its roots in classical ballet.”
“In 1980, Baryshnikov became Artistic Director,” he added. “He staged, restaged, and refurbished numerous classical ballets and, according to the company, strengthened their classical tradition.”
According to Lapidus, the documentary, part of the PBS American Masters series, is an invaluable guide to the troupe. “It presents a rich 75-year history of one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies from its earliest days as a small, financially struggling ‘corps de ballet’ to its pinnacle as one of the most respected and revered dance companies in the world. The brilliantly talented and famous dancers are highlighted and the archival footage is most memorable.”
Not a lover of this classical style of dance? Lapidus claims that won’t hinder your enjoyment of the film. “You needn’t be a ballet fan to appreciate this documentary,” he said. “The beauty and grace of ballet dancers flying through the air and moving with absolute precision is sheer magic. This art form is actually accessible to anyone interested in piquing their visual perception of what a body can do and express. That’s universal.”