OMAHA — Aug. 22, 2019 — American Midwest Ballet (AMB) leaps into its tenth anniversary season with a celebration of old and new: several “back-by-popular demand” favorites, peppered with exciting new work.
The company’s award-winning annual mixed-repertory production Momentum kicks off the ballet season with the Omaha premiere of the sultry, colorful Habaneras: The Music of Cuba, an ode to the 1950s-era Big Band sounds of choreographer Frank Chaves’ native home.
The program also includes two of AMB’s most-requested favorites: In the Style of Bob Fosse and Party Animals.
“We are thrilled to work with Broadway legend and Tony Award winner Ann Reinking for the second time in just three years,” says Overturff. “It is a dream come true to have her back with us to celebrate Bob Fosse’s exceptional and important contribution to dance.”
Audiences will also see Overturff’s original ballet Party Animals return for the first time since its 2014 debut. The playful work showcases AMB dancers as zebras, lions, cheetahs, flamingos, and a host of other animals in clever costumes designed by Deborah Overturff.
The season also includes the return of the beloved family classic The Nutcracker. Overturff enjoys refreshing her original version of the holiday staple each season by adding new elements to existing Nutcracker scenes, often through updated choreography and costumes.
This year, Overturff goes a step further by adding an entirely new scene to the production.
“For the first time, Midwest audiences, along with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, will be entertained by an India-themed variation,” Overtuff announced.
Dancers from Viswanatya Niketan, an Omaha-based school of classical Indian dance directed by Usha Devaraju, will perform the variation in India’s traditional Bharatanatyam style of dance. The brilliantly adorned new costumes feature silks and jewelry ordered directly from India.
“I am delighted that India will be celebrated in dance alongside the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian, French, and other traditional variations,” said Overturff. “The accompanying music is an unearthed gem from Tchaikovsky’s original Nutcracker score that finally gets its turn in the spotlight.”
The Nutcracker will feature AMB’s 29-member professional company and more than 100 dancers from throughout the community.
Swing, Swing, Swing!
In April, AMB makes its debut at the Polina and Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center within the new Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center in Council Bluffs, followed by a return to the Orpheum Theater in Omaha.
The company’s first production on the new stage will be a revival of Harrison McEldowney’s Swing, Swing, Swing!, a celebration of the courage and spirit of the Greatest Generation as told through rollicking, elegant, and poignant dance vignettes of the 1940s.
“This production is very special to me,” said Overturff. “When our company debuted in 2010 under the name Ballet Nebraska, our very first production was Swing, Swing, Swing! It is fitting that this production is the first one we perform in our new theater.”
While the company has more than doubled in size since its debut, Overturff is elated that many of the dancers from the original production are still dancing with the company.
“I could only dream about where our company could go when we made our debut ten years ago,” says Overturff. “We are grateful to be part of such a wonderful community that values the arts in general and ballet in particular.”