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N.C. Dance Theater's next season will be a 'Dangerous Liaison'

Annual 'Innovative Works' will move to a new home.

Steven Brown
The Charlotte Observer
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011

N.C. Dance Theatre's 2011-12 season will include a ballet version of "Dangerous Liaisons," the company's first staging of "Sleeping Beauty," and NCDT's first set of performances at its home on North Tryon Street.

Based on the French tale of sexual scheming that has already had film and theatrical versions, "Dangerous Liaisons" will be choreographed by NCDT dancer Sasha Janes. This will be Janes' largest work, coming after a series of creations including "Tree Hugger," a lyrical trio that was part of last season's "Innovative Works" program.

"Liaisons" and its amorous intrigues are tailor-made for dance, says NCDT's artistic director, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.

"It's going to be raw emotion," Bonnefoux said. "It's so direct when the body is telling you something."

"Sleeping Beauty," announced last winter, will be NCDT's main contribution to a Tchaikovsky festival next March. While the Charlotte Symphony and Opera Carolina will also perform in the March festival, it's uncertain whether the orchestra will play for "Sleeping Beauty." NCDT can only hire the orchestra if it raises the money for the group's fee, executive director Doug Singleton said recently.

NCDT's year-old building on North Tryon includes two studios that can combine to form a 200-seat black box theater, and the company will use it for the annual "Innovative Works" in November. Performances will spread across three weekends, and for the first two of those, the ticket price will include food and drink, plus post-performance dessert receptions with the dancers.

"We're taking 'Innovative Works' from a performance to an experience, bring the audience closer to the dancers than ever before," Bonnefoux said in a statement.

The season's opener, "Director's Choice," will bring back "Bolero" by Mark Diamond, head of the NCDT 2 training company. The show will also include "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" by William Forsythe, a top contemporary choreographer whose work has been little performed in Charlotte. NCDT performed "In the Middle" in 2000.

Bonnefoux calls Forsythe's 1987 work a turning point in modern choreography because it displays "a different energy, a different way to connect the steps."

"Each step has a lot of force, a lot of vitality. ... It's such a masterpiece."