Delaware Ballet presents ‘An Evening with the Arts’

Akerah Winder will join her fellow Delaware Ballet dancers for “An Evening with the Arts” Saturday at the Patchwork Playhouse in Dover. (Submitted photo/Artful I Photography)

DOVER – “An Evening with the Arts” presented by the Delaware Ballet will showcase not only dance, but local music, visual art and more Saturday evening at Dover’s Patchwork Playhouse.

“We typically do storybook ballets in the spring but wanted to showcase something new this year,” said Delaware Ballet mistress Brittany Faulkingham.

When Ms. Faulkingham began her role with the Delaware Ballet six years ago, she decided to partner with Regional Dance America, an organization geared toward elevating the future of dance in America to expose her dancers to new experiences.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to help my dancers grow by exposing them to new teachers and see what dance is like outside of just our studio,” she said. “It’s also given us some great opportunities to work with amazing choreographers we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

The creations of three outside choreographers will be seen during the show — each of whom taught the dancers at the school.

“I like learning from different teachers because you learn new things and get a different perspective,” said 9-year-old Sadie Wilson, the youngest dancer in the show.

“A 10-minute piece we’re performing was set over the course of three six-hour days and although it’s a lot of work, it gives the dancers an experience of what it would be like as a professional where you may have an entire show that needs to be learned in just a few days,” Ms. Faulkingham said.

Since there is no script or hard copy for a dance performance, it’s up to the dancers to remember each step after the choreographer leaves.

“I’ve been so impressed with what they’ve been able to learn and hold onto because some of these pieces haven’t been performed in several years,” she said.

Isabella Gibbs and the Delaware Ballet will perform five pieces on Saturday. (Submitted photo/Artful I Photography)

Four of the five pieces taking the stage are from performances the company has done out of town during their festival season that have never been performed locally.

“We do all these performances out of the area, away from home, so I thought the timing was right to bring some of our favorite selections back into the community so they can see more of what we do,” Ms. Faulkingham said. “Everyone knows we do the classical ‘Nutcracker’ every year, but they haven’t seen this side of us before.”

The Delaware Ballet has never showcased modern dance until now.

“One of our pieces is unexpected,” Ms. Faulkingham said. “It’s Martha Graham-style modern dance with bare feet and everything.”

It’s the first time most of the dancers have ever performed this style.

“I prefer classical ballet because of the technique but with ‘Currents,’ it’s something completely new for me and a great opportunity to try a new form of expression,” 16-year-old dancer Julia Tegtmeier said.

Despite dancing in nearly every piece in the show, the modern number is actually her favorite of the show.

“It’s really interesting how it utilizes the entire ensemble to create the feeling of an ocean tide,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it or danced in a performance like this one before.”

Although the show’s utilization of outside choreography was a chance for Ms. Faulkingham to recharge her creative juices, she did end up choreographing the fifth piece of the show.

“I wasn’t planning on it, but there was some music I heard that I just loved and thought it would be something that went along well with the selections we’d already made,” she said.

A 2 p.m. matinee will be a straight performance but guests of Saturday’s evening show will be treated to a cocktail hour featuring a cash bar, hors d’ourves by the Grey Fox, live music by the Joe Baione Trio and a display of art by Jani Duerr.

“I don’t think the Delaware Ballet has done anything like it before,” Ms. Faulkingham said. “It’s going to be a great chance for people to come out and enjoy the arts – not just dance, and a fun evening as well.”

Tickets for the 2 p.m. show are $10 for children and $15 for adults. For Saturday night’s 21 and over cocktail hour and show, tickets are $30.

Tickets are on sale at the School of Delaware Ballet, 177 Old Camden Road, Camden or by calling 302-698-1340.

The Patchwork Playhouse at 140 Roosevelt Ave. in Dover.

Ashton Brown is a freelance writer living in Dover.

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