Make Mardi Gras an 'Italian Evening' with Montreal dance company's Feb. 12 performance

Posted by John Mark Rafacz on February 10, 2013 

Feb. 12 isn't just any Tuesday. It's Fat Tuesday — as in Mardi Gras. Time for a little celebrating.

Dance lovers would do well to mark Mardi Gras this year with Montreal's Les Grands Ballets Canadiens performing two dances by acclaimed Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti. Italian Evening features Four Seasons, set to beloved music by Vivaldi, and Cantata, performed to live music by Gruppo Musicale Assurd.

Tickets are still available for the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium.

"Four Seasons is preternaturally angular and airy, a balletic-based study of dancers as creatures with [recorded] music by the Venetian-born Antonio Vivaldi," wrote a Boston Globe reviewer. "Cantata is earthy and human, utilizing a hearty, sweaty, barefoot modern-dance vocabulary with live accompaniment by Gruppo Musicale Assurd, an all-female quartet who perform contemporary and traditional music of southern Italy."

Bigonzetti called Cantata "a choreography bursting with the typical vibrant colors of the South [of Italy]." A piece in which dance and music strongly intermingle, Cantata includes Italian love songs and serenades of the 18th and 19th centuries.

"Its passionate and visceral gestures evoke a Mediterranean and wild type of beauty," the choreographer said. "An instinctual and vital dance explores the various facets of the relationship between man and woman: seduction, passion, quarrels, jealousy. Cantata pays homage to the Italian culture and musical tradition, a popular one in the highest sense of the term."

Gradimir Pankov, artistic director since 2000, has brought innovation and an intercultural approach to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, which was founded in 1957. 

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Pierre Lapointe, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens principal ballet master and/or Corinne Jozsef, the ballet company's director of touring, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints seating is available on a first-arrival basis.




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