Ballet & Beer: Prodigal Son, Extremely Close & Concerto #4

Posted: 03/15/2013 in Uncategorized, Wandering 'Nati
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Oh lovely people, how I have been neglecting this place lately.  Not for want of wishing – I’ve been thinking of lots of things to write about, but frankly, there’s been no time.  I’ve got lots of updates!!  However, some are more critical than others – and I’m going to let the gym/training plan/misc updates fade behind an event write-up* for a moment.

Last night, I had another opportunity to attend a Ballet & Beers event at the Cincinnati Ballet rehearsal studios. You may remember I wrote a bit about this last Fall for their Kaplan New Works series.  This time, the event was related to their upcoming performance – which features a triptych of Prodigal Son, Extremely Close and Concerto #4.  I saw this one on the schedule, noting that Prodigal Son is a Balanchine piece. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken in a Balanchine work. Too long. I am a girl who loves me some Balanchine. And with that realization, the tickets were bought – along with the complimentary prequel tickets for the Ballet & Beer event.

I dodged out of work early, grabbed one of my favorite gal pals, and ended up sitting next to another friend completely by accident. We were front row of the balcony. This was going to be a good day, I could feel it.  And off the rehearsal went!

We were getting a sneak preview of Extremely Close – which is described as follows on the ballet’s website:

“Taking inspiration from piano solos by Philip Glass and Dustin O’Halloran, [Alejandro] Cerrudo intricately weaves dancers through striking elements of visual art in a thought-provoking and hauntingly beautiful piece that is sure to stay with you long after you leave the theater”

In other words, it is not a story ballet – but rather a concept ballet – a visual art piece.

Unlike the stops and starts of the previous rehearsal I witnessed, this rehearsal allowed the dancers to get all the way through the piece. Let me say first – these dancers are ready to put on this piece! They looked phenomenal.  I was really happy to see Patric Palkens with a prominent role in this dance after he was so nice to me at the last event. Second, I can not wait to see what this piece looks like in final form onstage! Even in the rough, it was intriguing and beautiful. And that was without the feathers. What feathers, you ask…all week the ballet’s Facebook page has been releasing promo shots of this ballet being done on a floor covered in large white feathers. This day’s rehearsal = no feathers, but we were promised they would be there for the actual performance. FEATHERS! EVERYWHERE!

After the first run, the standard notes and working points were delivered, then some pain-point work on specific sequences in timing and partnering. Do it again…nope, more this way…still more of that…one more time. It’s actually pretty fascinating stuff. Then on to the Q & A and the beer & pizza.

I will tell you that in the Q & A session, the first question asked was one the entire audience was thinking – essentially:

 What is up with the chin thing?

Yes, there’s a chin thing. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it is right now. That’s why you go see the show. Because a blogger mentioned feathers and a chin thing. In a ballet. You’re welcome.

Gal pal, random friend & I all hang around for a beer after and it’s not long before we’re chatting up with Patric again. Seriously people, this man is stunning – onstage, he has a powerful, passionate presence that deservedly got him locked into the matinée role of Romeo in last month’s Romeo & Juliet after another dancer was injured. Offstage, he is devilishly charismatic with an excellent sense of humor. We spend a bit talking about the upcoming show – working out the chin thing (still not telling you!) and how much FUN working with the feathers has been.

I tell Patric I noticed that all the dancers were wearing socks in rehearsal rather than ballet shoes – unusual. He tells me it’s because of the feathers – the dancers are sliding around in them and they can slide much, MUCH further with socks on. All of the sliding with the choreography is what makes the visual art piece work – kicking up the feathers, watching them float around the stage with every movement. Sticking to you…every once in a while one ends up stuck on a hand or a foot and it’s the dancer’s job to pretend it’s not there. But, he tells me, then you kick your foot back and see one coming up 6-8 inches further than your foot and you understand how incredible this looks to an audience.

Incredible indeed! After seeing all the jumps and slides in rehearsal – a pretty aggressive choreography to be contrasted against the gentle calm of the floating feathers – I can imagine what this will look like in full dress out and I can not wait to see it in reality.


The Cincinnati Ballet will be presenting Prodigal Son, Extremely Close & Concerto #4 on March 22nd (8pm) and March 23rd (2pm & 8pm). A Meet the Artists opportunity will be prior to the Friday, March 22nd performance at 7pm. You can purchase tickets here.  

I would also encourage you to check out information for the Club B Event scheduled for April 20th.

*This is not a sponsored post and I am in no way affiliated with the Cincinnati Ballet.

  1. […] the husband & I pulled out the finery and headed out, once again, to the Cincinnati Ballet. You may recall, I put this on the calendar earlier this month and was really looking forward to the George […]


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