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Patric Palkens_Near Light.jpg
Piece: Near Light / Pictured: Patric Palkens / Choreography: Ma Cong / Ballet: “Director’s Cut” (Sept. 16-17, 2016) // Image: Peter Mueller

The Return Of Cincinnati Ballet Is The Best Thing About Fall

I know there are plenty of people looking forward to fall. But I'm not one of them.

Football? ... No thanks.
Pumpkin spice? ... I could take it or leave it.
Sweater weather? ... I prefer my shorts and flip flops.

There is one thing, however, that will get me out of my autumn-is-coming doldrums. One thing on the horizon to keep me sane amid the pigskin fans. And that's the return of the ballet.

Maybe it's because I'm a dancer caught in a rhythmically-challenged, non-dancer body. (I'm not that bad. I only exaggerated for effect.)

Maybe it's because I miss having reasons to go to the Aronoff Center and get all dolled up for the opening night of a show. (That's not entirely true. And by "dolled up," I really just mean wearing pants with a button and a zipper.)

Maybe it's because the ballet dancers we have in this city are hot, talented, magical, and did I already say hot?

... Yep. Nailed it.

So while there are plenty of things to do in Cincy this weekend (e.g. Zoofari, Oktoberfest, Reds, etc.), there is one thing that you can be sure is on my list. I'll be sitting in the orchestra section marveling at the beauty that comes from an interplay of shadow, light, shape, movement, and music all combined into one intentional performance. And then, I'm gonna take a cold shower. ... 'Cause the final piece of the seven-bill program, "Near Light," a world premiere ballet by Ma Cong, is HOT. Like, call the Fire Department hot. Like, did someone rub baby oil on James Gilmer's chest hot?? (But seriously, did they?) Like, it's not fair that these dancers all look so freaking hot all the dang time.

SHORT LIST OF SHOUT OUTS FOR "DIRECTOR'S CUT":

• Chisako Oga nailing 32 pirouettes in Black Swan Pas de Deux

• Rodrigo Almarales' brilliant performance as a hilarious stumbling drunk in Prohibition Condition

• James Cunningham's choreography in Prohibition Condition
**I already love you as a dancer, and now you're killing it with the choreography, too?!

• The entire cast of Fusion Excerpts, a short but wonderful & whimsical piece which is courtesy of San Francisco Ballet

• Zack Grubbs and Sarah Hairston giving their farewell performance in Raymonda Grand Pas Hongrois
**We will miss you. ... Lots.

• Melissa Gelfin and Cervilio Amador in Victoria Morgan's Patriotic Pas
**Imagine if the 4th of July fireworks came to life in a ballet. This is it.

• Every single thing about Ma Cong's Near Light
**I want to buy the DVD. Yes, I'm willing to find a DVD player at a yard sale, convince the ballet to produce a DVD of this ballet, buy it, and then watch it every day. That's how wholly committed I am to wanting this piece in my life.

And finally, because it's deserving of its own paragraph, a giant curtsy to Victoria Morgan. This year is her 20th season with Cincinnati Ballet. She's one of only five female Artistic Directors in the country. It's thanks to her passion, vision, and leadership that Cincinnati Ballet has a place on the world map. Hugs and many high fives to you Victoria. #BallerinaBoss

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Director's Cut runs Sept. 16 & 17 at the Aronoff Center.


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