The Evanston Dance Ensemble (EDE) opens its 22nd season December 14th – 16th with a suite of three pieces, Moving On, that individually and in combination explore the theme of transition and which combine ballet, classical music, modern dance and original music. EDE co-Artistic Directors Christina Ernst and Béa Rashid believe the youth dance company’s audiences will in equal parts enjoy, be moved, and be entranced by Moving On.
The first act, Graduation Ball, is a delightful classical ballet originally choreographed by David Lichine in 1940 to music composed by Johann Strauss II. Set in an all-girls school in the 1840’s, the headmistress has invited cadets from the local military academy to attend the ball celebrating the graduation of the senior class. The ballet will feature guest dancer Glenn Leslie, a Dance Center Evanston faculty member, and in keeping with the ballet’s tradition of a man dancing the role of the head mistress, EDE welcomes special guest dancer Cam Turner, a Chicago theater director and performer. According to choreographer Laura Schwenk Berman the theme of transition is explored while “there are flirtations, exuberant dances, and a secret romance that ensues.”
Act Two begins with …my breath away…, a world premiere choreographed by guest artist A. Raheim White of Lucky Plush Productions which tackles the evening’s theme head on, acknowledging that there is death amidst life for all people. By exploring feelings of great loss, sustained intensity, and the passage of time there is healing despite the inevitabilities of transition. Under White’s direction, the dance ensemble will address the commonality of death which can be a taboo subject in an American culture obsessed with youth and health.
Finally, we are transported from mere earthly realities into the cosmos for Neptune - a selection from EDE’s Space Odyssey which will be re-mounted and produced in full in the spring – featuring original music by Steve Rashid (Emmy and Jeff-Award winning stage and film composer) and choreography by Christina Ernst. The blue planet Neptune – a so-called “gas giant” whose surface is more like slushy ice with frozen methane and ammonia - is one of the most dynamic environments imaginable where winds can reach 1,300 mph. Choreographer Ernst was inspired by the constant motion of Neptune’s atmosphere, and by Rashid’s highly-energized, original contemporary score.