"Diavolo," writes the company's Artistic Director Jacques Heim in his program notes, "is a fusion of many different movement vocabularies such as everyday movement, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop." On stage, that translates into genre-bending theatre pieces that are a mashup of dance, Olympic-class athletics, and circus arts that are sometimes thrilling and always mesmerizing.
When you think of the music for the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," the first names that probably come to mind are Harold Arlen and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg. Their songs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had a Brain" have been firmly ensconced in the Great American Songbook for decades. If you're a film music fan, you might also think of composer/arranger (and Broadway veteran) Herbert Stothart, who combined Arlen's tunes with original material into a seamless, Oscar-winning score.
There were many remarkable things about The Shanghai Ballet's production of "The Butterfly Lovers" that Dance St. Louis presented at the Touhill this weekend. The colorful costumes, the incredible athleticism and skill of the dancers, the incisive way artistic director Xin Lili's choreography illuminated character and defined action, and the powerful emotional pull of the tragic story were all reasons to take notice.
I visited China a few years ago, but am sorry to say I saw none of any native Chinese theatrical arts while there. When I heard the Beijing Opera was coming to the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus the University of Missouri, I hoped to rectify my lack of exposure. I must say I came away enchanted and impressed.
The crowd filled the lobby of the Touhill Performing Arts Center in waves, pouring down the stairs in a cascade of diversity.
Its origins shrouded in the mists of time and centered within the region of Andalusia, flamenco music and dance has nevertheless enthralled audiences the world over throughout its history.
Every performing arts organization has its share of potboilers—light entertainments designed to reach a popular audience and boost box office revenues. Most have a short shelf life but some, like Verdi’s “Aida”, exceed expectations and wind up as part of the standard repertoire.
The Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of University of Missouri St. Louis recently hosted a performance by The Improv Shop troupe. The Improv Shop is a “St. Louis-based improvisational comedy theater and school.”