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April 12, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Whale Sharks, considered the gentle giants of the sea, can be found along the coastal regions of Mexico in Yucatán. Gracefully swimming in short bursts of strong, powerful movement, these sharks swim with the heartbeat of the sea. This beautiful, fluid motion is what inspired composer Tom Andes to write “Swimming with Sharks” for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet, while he was on a boat.
Thousands of miles away in Columbia, Karen Grundy choreographed a ballet performance to complement the song, which transitions from energetic to a calm middle, representing the moment of entering the water, and then to an upbeat ending.
WHERE: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
WHEN: Missouri Theatre
COST: $24-35; $3 surcharge for tickets purchased at the door
This fast-paced performance will be nine minutes of the dancers swaying with the reggae-like rhythm of the music and the choreography requires that the ballerinas not touch during the entire song to add to the feeling of movement underwater with a school of fish — together but never touching.
Four of the five works in LIVE have never been seen before. The performances, including a tango to a song composed by Argentinean musician Ástor Piazzolla, will pull inspiration from real life experience. Grundy describes the tango as a romantic expression that conceptualizes different stages of a relationship, from dating to irritation, alive on stage. Travis McFarlane wrote the “Hold On” suite, which was inspired by his grandmother’s poetry.
Choreographer-in-residence Shannon Lee West’s piece involves hanging cubic structures crafted from PVC pipes and challenges viewers to think outside the box. The choreography will be accompanied by live music from St. Louis band The Pat Sajak Assassins.
Andes says the symbiosis between the music and the dancers is amazing, and while the company only does one live performance a year, they are able to tell beautiful stories that unravel with each song.