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Intensive Effects

The Concert Ballet of Virginia shows off.


This summer, the Concert Ballet of Virginia has offered dance students a series of intensive sessions with a mission, according to program director Marianne Godfrey, “to provide a nurturing environment for students to improve their technique and explore their artistry.” CBV, according to its Web site, is “an unusual and marvelous collection … of dancers, choreographers, technicians, craft/stage persons and volunteers … who come together for the joy of producing and performing dance.”

That joy is what Godfrey is eager to share with her students. Her summer program encourages exploration beyond ballet to jazz, modern, hip-hop and Latin dance styles, as well as to choreography, costume and production design. The Summer Intensive 2003 program culminates Sunday, Aug. 17, with a concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen that will include performances by both students and senior members of the Concert Ballet.

The first half of the performance showcases students, ages 14-18, from the last session of the Summer Intensive. Four pieces by four different choreographers follow the theme of the elements: earth, air, fire and water. Godfrey choreographed the “fire” section and describes the process of working with her students as collaborative. Rather than simply setting a piece on them, she “guided them through the process of choreography,” and included many of their ideas in the completed work. Guest choreographers Sarah Pack of Pulse Dance Collective, Robin Friedersdorf and Grace Gallagher take on earth, air and water to complete the first half of the program.

Included in the concert’s second half is “Full Moon/Empty Arms,” also choreographed by Godfrey. Set to Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” this classical pointe piece gives Concert Ballet company members Heather Reed and Scott Boyer a chance to shine in a lovely pas de deux inspired by the sweeping emotion of Rachmaninoff’s music. Godfrey’s enthusiasm for embracing different styles of dance gets free rein in “Buenas Noches,” her “Latin hip-hop” style piece for four “campy” dancers in cabaret costumes. Godfrey herself will dance in this piece, along with Robin Friedersdorf and two guest artists from Pulse Dance Collective. “It’s our chance to have some fun and show off a little bit,” she says.

With such a diverse program, Sunday’s audience can’t fail to have as much fun as the dancers do and to appreciate the work, dedication and talent of students, teachers and company members alike. S

The Concert Ballet of Virginia’s summer concert takes place Sunday, Aug. 17, at 2:30 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Tickets cost $10 at the door. Call 798-0945 for more information.

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