Humor and heart featured in Barrington Dance Ensemble’s spring production – Chicago Tribune
The diverse styles of the Barrington Dance Ensemble will be showcased during the company’s Spring Production 2022 on June 10-11.
Audiences will see everything from the one-act comedy ballet “Graduation Ball” to Eddy Ocampo’s touching MOZheart, set to music by Mozart.
Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. at the Barrington High School Auditorium.
The show will open with MOZheart. “It’s an 11-minute piece,” said artistic director Mary Brennan. She said 11 dancers from the Barrington Dance Ensemble will be joined by three dancers from the Chicago Academy.
“The male dancers at the Academy are very excited to be working with Eddy Ocampo,” said Brennan.
“MOZheart is about falling in love,” Ocampo said. “It’s a perfect piece for their springtime engagement because it’s the exciting new chapter of falling in love. It’s joyful, it’s melancholy, it’s fun.
Ocampo reported that the Barrington Dance Ensemble had already done the work. “I’ve choreographed for them several times,” he says. “My relationship with the Barrington Dance Ensemble goes back nearly 30 years. I danced with them for the very first time in 94. I saw the Barrington Dance Ensemble grow and evolve.
This piece will be followed by “Scenes from Childhood”, which Brennan choreographed to Schumann’s “Kinderszenen”. “It’s a whole suite of music that depicts the life of a childhood,” Brennan said. “We have something called ‘Foreign Lands and Peoples’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Almost Too Serious.’ Small studies for children. It’s very charming. It takes place at the end of the 18th century. The costumes reflect the period.
Around 70 children from the Barrington Dance Academy will join dancers from the Barrington Dance Ensemble for this work.
The first half of the program will end with two pieces choreographed by Wade Schaaf, “Steam Heat” and “Sing, Sing, Sing”, originally choreographed by Bob Fosse.
“Wade trained with us when he was young,” Brennan noted. “He is now the founder and artistic director of the Chicago Repertory Ballet. He is a very accomplished choreographer. For years he has been coming out and working with our students.
“I’ve compiled a new version of Fosse’s work ‘Steam Heat’ from ‘Pajama Game’ and ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ from Fosse dancers,” Schaaf said. “They’re as close to Fosse’s original choreography as befits the band. I adapted them to these two groups of dancers. They are energetic and fun pieces in the Fosse style, with lots of original steps.
The second act of the concert will feature the ballet “Graduation Ball”, in which girls from a private girls’ school and boys from a private military academy come together for a ball.
“It’s a very popular one-act ballet. It’s very funny,” Brennan said. The play was directed by Gregory Merriman, who teaches at Illinois State University. Three dancers from the Chicago Academy and two professional dancers, Vernon Gooden and Quint Lattimore, will play the five cadets.
Wade Schaaf is also in “Graduation Ball.” “He’s six and three years old and he’s playing the manager,” Brennan revealed.
“He’s a lovely, caring, sentimental character,” Schaaf said. “She takes care of her daughters at the girls’ school. She has a big love affair with the general of the boys’ academy across the lake.
Schaaf accepted the role because “I always have a great time with comedy in this role. It’s fun to play such a sweet character.
Spring production 2022
When: June 10-11
Or: Barrington Dance Ensemble at Barrington High School Auditorium, 616 W. Main St., Barrington
Information: 847-382-6333; barringtondance.org
Myrna Petlicki is a freelance journalist for Pioneer Press.