Arts & Culture

Friends ballet to add information to entertainment

Just like a trip to the art museum is more fun if you’ve ingested a little art history first, an evening at the ballet is more interesting if you know the difference between a pas de bourree and a pirouette.

Those who attend Friends University’s fall ballet next weekend will get a little education thrown in for free with their entertainment.

Sharon Rogers, who as an associate professor of dance at the school, will present a short lecture on the history of dance, using the help of some of her dance majors, before the start of the ballet, which features the classic “Les Sylphides” and a contemporary piece choreographed by Stan Rogers, an associate professor of dance at Friends

Sharon Rogers likes to occasionally offer the talk before a ballet, she said, and part of the reason is demand. Someone from Friends recently told her that they’d heard her talk the last time she did it, about five years ago, and wanted a repeat because it was so informative, she said.

“It’s really the aesthetics of dance, how to watch it, how to enjoy it,” she said. “It’s for people who may have attended many ballets and want to know more or for people who like ballet and want to know why. The more knowledge you have, the more you enjoy what you’re seeing.”

Sharon Rogers said her students will help her demonstrate various moves, and she’ll cover essential ballet vocabulary and concepts, as well as discuss the difference between classic and contemporary dance. The talk will last about 15 minutes.

Then, the dance will start, first with “Les Sylphides,” a ballet created in the early 1900s. It’s a romantic ballet, and it’s abstract, Rogers said.

“It doesn’t have a story, but it’s just beautiful,” she said. “It uses the line and the arms and the styles of the romantic period. It’s really one of my most favorite ballets. It has a lot of beautiful core work.”

After an intermission, the students will come back and perform a piece called “A Contemporary Ballet,” choreographed by Stan Rogers. Its movements are the opposite of the classic “Les Sylphides,” Sharon Rogers said.

Stan Rogers had originally choreographed the piece for Sharon Rogers’ May student concert.

“Man it is contemporary, and it is hot,” she said. “It’s fast – it’s taking the ballet moves and just manipulating them in a totally different way.”

The ballet will star the program’s 23 majors, many of whom are familiar to Friends audiences from roles in previous ballets and in the school’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.”