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David Bowie Meets Ballet

It’s the best of times…

…and, it’s the worst of times—which is the best time to experience the feelings that make each and every one of us human. That’s why I’m seeing the David Bowie tribute ballet Star Dust, on stage at the Hult Center on Friday, October 26.

Full disclosure: I’m a member of Eugene Ballet’s board of directors, and Eugene Ballet is a co-presenter, with Hult Presents, of this upcoming performance danced by Complexions Contemporary Ballet (CCB).

Photo by Hagos Rush

Yes, I’d like you to experience this event because it supports the organization I support and benefits the venue where Eugene Ballet has been a Resident Company since 1982. But there’s more: We’ve teamed up with local makeup artists (visit the Beauty Bar), photographers (and photo booths), and other businesses to create a pre-show happening! Get a Ziggy Stardust look created and recorded for all of social media to adore (if there aren’t pics, it didn’t happen, right?). Full on glitz and glam from the moment you open the Hult Center doors, to the standing ovation you’ll easily offer this amazing dance company.

Photo by Breeann Bir

But, ballet on a Friday night? Yes, ballet—contemporary-and-physically-pushing-the boundaries-of-what’s-capable ballet. As Dance Magazine exclaimed, CCB makes it “sensationally, jaw-droppingly clear that we live in the age of the super-dancer, at a time when technical virtuosity is being redefined as an expressive state.”

I’m sure many of our Eugene Ballet dancers and Eugene Ballet Academy students will be in the audience to experience the joy of dance and celebrate the music of the worldwide icon that was David Bowie. The Village Voice called co-founder and choreographer Dwight Rhoden’s Star Dust “supremely entertaining,” while So You Think You Can Dance contestant and CCB dancer Jennie Begley described it as an “emotional rollercoaster.” It’s that—emotional—that has me all in for this diverse and vibrant company’s extremely physical performance, plus glitter!

Photo by Hagos Rush

CCB’s Bach 25 opens the evening. Premiered in April, it featured an opening solo by co-founder Desmond Richardson, the first black American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. This fast paced, moody tee-up to Star Dust has a three-word program note: Reverence, Celebration, Moxie. reviewer Qianqian Xing explained, “…the emotion-filled lines and muscles, paired with the silent interaction, formed overwhelming waves under the skin, often causing members of the audience to even forget to breathe.”

Breathtaking indeed. But back to Bowie. Whether you loved him as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Man Who Fell To Earth, or Jareth the Goblin King, Bowie’s gender- and genre-bending music is unmistakably evocative. From Space Oddity to BlackStar, CCB brings Bowie’s best to the Silva Concert Hall stage with all the glitz and glam you’d expect—lasers and disco balls, you bet.

Seriously, as we look at the Changes we’ve witnessed in our lives, whether you’re a Young American, or nearing your Golden Years, we can all be Heroes, just for one night. Relive 1984. Be Major Tom. Get your face painted and your faith in humanity reinvigorated as CCB shows us that “dance should remove barriers, not reinforce them.”

Get your tickets, put on your red shoes, and Let’s Dance!

–Jerril Nilson


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