Monday, March 9, 2009

'Dia Latino' highlights ballet theatre's finale

CBT's Latino season finale seizes the 'Dia'
By Ann Hicks • ARTS WRITER • March 8, 2009

The final show of Carolina Ballet Theatre's 2008-2009 season, "Dia Latino!" is also a culmination of "an amazing season for the company," says artistic director Hernan Justo. The company's tour of Uruguay in October and its acclaimed performance at the Teatro Solis, Montevideo's famed opera house, was a milestone for the professional dancers.

The dancers' February offering, "Beyond the Lines: A Tribute to Creativity in Motion," proved an unparalleled success with the audience and proof of CBT's emerging status as a regional modern dance ensemble to watch, Justo says.

With the current "Dia Latino!" which opens at the Gunter Theatre on Friday and repeats on Saturday, CBT offers a creative fusion of the arts rooted in Spain's expansive culture, Justo says. His palette was influenced by Garcia Lorca's drama "The House of Bernarda Alba" and the magic realism of Catalan painter Salvador Dali, and bears the weight of Spain's bloody 1936 civil war.

"In other words, I'm celebrating Spain, the mother of all cultures, with this program," Justo says.

His artistry will be seen in one new work, "Tarde Flamenca," and a work already in CBT's repertoire, his 2007 "Tangofusion."

"Tarde Flamenca" is choreographed to the music of Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia with additional Latin strains by British guitarist John McLaughlin and American guitarist Al DiMeola.

Justo, a native of Argentina, says with "Tango Fusion" he celebrates his "American experience" by fusing his homeland's signature dance with American energy.

CBT is also introducing company dancer and new choreographer Francesca Genovese's first complete ballet, "Just About." Justo adds she's not only an exceptional dancer but an exceptional choreographer as well. The New York City native built her piece on a score by Matisyahu, whose compositions fuse Jewish traditional music with reggae and hip-hop. The Caribbean-flavored "Just About" is an entirely new style to CBT's repertoire, says Justo. "You'll see the dancers moving a completely different way from what you've previously seen on stage from our company."

What will not be different, he adds, is CBT's desire to make its entertainment a fiesta for the audience.

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