As Fort Wayne Ballet launches its 2021-22 season next week with “Diversions 21,” it resumes pre-pandemic plans to bring new voices to the city.
The Ballet intended to bring in several choreographers last season before COVID-19 derailed those plans, artistic director Karen Gibbons-Brown says. The Ballet did present a full 2020-21 season, but because of the pandemic it was not the season originally envisioned.
“To bring another choreographer in is exciting for us, and that all had to be put on hold last year,” she says.
Bringing in outside choreographers is stimulating for the dancers, but also gives the local audience different perspectives.
“We're not a one-voice organization,” Gibbons-Brown says. “We have many voices that create dance here.”
The Ballet opens “Diversions 21” on Thursday in ArtsLab and continues through Oct. 2 .
“Diversions” is Fort Wayne Ballet's annual repertoire show. This season's program includes the mid-20th century “Grand Pas Classique,” an expanded staging of “Moonlight Sonata” from local ballet mistress Tracy Tritz and a piece set on the company by choreographer Cynthia Pratt, whose visit to Fort Wayne was postponed from last season.
Pratt, a Butler University professor and former professional dancer, is among outside choreographers planned to be part of the Ballet's 2021-22 season. Others include David Ingram, formerly a principal dancer and artistic associate with the Ballet, and répétiteur Cameron Basden.
The piece being set by Pratt, “Departure From Fifth Position,” uses a dozen dancers and is celebratory, Gibbons-Brown says. All the works in “Diversions 21” were chosen to be joyful and escapist while showing off what the company is capable of.
The “Grand Pas Classique” pas de deux is a technically and artistically challenging piece that dancers began work on as soon as they entered the studio for the season, Gibbons-Brown says.
The professional company's lineup this season has added two performers, continuing a recent trend that includes a growing number of male dancers. Having a larger, stronger company allows the Ballet to take on new pieces.
“Some of these ballets have three men, and some of the ballets we'd like to do have 12 men,” Gibbons-Brown says. “And while we're not there (in numbers), it does open up a broader repertoire for us to experience, and that's great.”
The Ballet's season continues with “Giselle” on Oct. 22 and 23 and “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 3 to 12. A full spring slate hasn't been announced, but will include a celebration of the Ballet's 65th season on March 11 and “Sleeping Beauty” in April.
If You Go
What: “Diversions 21”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday and Oct. 1 and 2; 2 p.m. Oct. 2
Where: ArtsLab, 300 E. Main St.
Admission: $35; ArtsTix Community Box Office, 424-5220 or tickets.artstix.org