The last time MSUM hosted the James Sewell Ballet Company, mesmerized audience members saw dancers crash-land on wrestling mats, do magic with Chinese linking rings and thrash to the punk beats of the Dead Kennedys. All with extraordinary style and grace, of course.
It wasn’t what most people expected. Nor will it be the next time around, when the dance company performs again on the Hansen Theatre stage, Saturday, March 3, in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts. As the New York Times wrote: “different and unpredictable, this is the company to see…”
The James Sewell Ballet Company was founded by James Sewell and Sally Rouse in New York City and brought to Minnesota in 1992. The two dancers envisioned a close-knit company of dance artists willing to both challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet.
So forget toe shoes and tutus. Look instead for bare feet and tattoos. This company’s dancers are gorgeous, but also gritty and unconventional. Sewell’s choreography, set to the music of Patsy Cline, The Gorillaz, Q-Burns, Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, Jerry Lee Lewis and Felix Mendelssohn, is always surprising. There’s even a number set to Eric Weissberg’s arrangement of Dueling Banjos.
Another unusual twist: This dance event includes Sewell’s choreography to the Mendelssohn Piano Trio, performed in entirety by violinist Ben Sung, pianist Jihye Chang and cellist Hrant Parsamian.
Don’t miss this masterful collaboration, and the last event of this season’s Cheryl Nelson Lossett Performing Arts Series. To get tickets, call the MSUM Box Office at (218) 477-2271 M-F from noon to 4 p.m., or buy online at www.mnstate.edu/perform. Tickets will also be available at the door.