The Maryland Ballet: back on its feet


After nearly a four-month hiatus caused by financial difficulties, the Maryland Ballet will perform this weekend at its new home, Loyola College.

Artistic director Phillip Carman said in an interview that the college's generosity -- Loyola is donating the use of McManus Theatre to the company -- has helped the 5-year-old group heal some of the monetary wounds created by the recent recession and get literally back on its toes.

Although the 10-member company gave two appearances in March at area colleges, the coming performance is the first in the city since the company was forced to cancel its January $H subscription series at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Despite the financial insecurity of the company, which has forced dancers to seek other sources of income, Mr. Carman has created two new ballets. "Blue Skies," a joint choreographic venture between Mr. Carman and local artist Kathy Wildberger, is a work he categorizes as a "feel-good ballet."

As with many of Mr. Carman's dances, it was the music that dictated the form. "I wanted to do a dance with popular music, but not MTV music -- not rock, but music that's familiar," said Mr. Carman, who incorporated songs by Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and others. The second new ballet, "Adagio Appassionato," is set to the adagio movement of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier Sonata."

"I'm fascinated with slow movement," said Mr. Carman. "There is something organically interesting about the body moving slowly, with the limbs extended and pulled to the maximum. There's a real drama about what is happening and it can grab the audience's attention. The ultimate challenge is to make time go away -- to take the audience into a place, suspend disbelief and make time disappear."

Additionally, Maryland Ballet will present its first Balanchine ballet, "Tarantella." Mr. Carman's "Continuum" will round out the weekend program.

Maryland Ballet will perform at Loyola College's McManus Theater Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $18-$20, with student and senior discounts available. Call 576-2400.

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