Three men are walking with unfolded Observers under their noses while they are taking in the day’s headlines. They turn the page in sync, when a little blonde wearing red twirls in front of them. They do a few double and triple pirouettes then leap away after her.
Leave it to Kate Honea, whose entire family works in the newspaper industry, to choreograph “Headlines,” a ballet that is black, white and red all over.
She is one of five Sarasota Ballet company dancers, along with Ricki Bertoni, Octavio Martin, Ricardo Graziano and Jamie Carter, who have taken direction all season. For the final program, “Theatre of Dreams,” these five dancers have been able to play a different role by choreographing a piece of their own, a tradition that Sarasota Ballet Artistic Director Iain Webb began two years prior.
“I’m very pleased that Iain gives us this opportunity to do this Theatre of Dreams production,” Honea says.
Honea is the only female choreographer, and her ballet’s ’60s-era, Mad-Men-style narrative keeps in toe with leading ladies – by following headlines a Sarasota female might encounter: a single female looks for a man, a woman stands by her man regardless of his criminal behavior, and a woman confronts a three-timing lover.
“I’m trying to give back to the community that I love, and that has inspired me,” she says.
It’s jazzy, fun and puts a Broadway style spin on classical ballet. It’s a crowd-pleaser, much like her previous ballet, “Percolator.”
“I love to dance knowing that everyone is having a good time,” Honea explains. She hopes to leave the audience smiling.
Honea, Graziano, Octavio and Carter have all previously choreographed.
“I hope they keep giving me this opportunity so I can explore more of the world that is this creation,” Martin, who has been in the company for six years, says. This time around he hopes to “clean up and polish all those details he wasn’t 100% happy with,” he says, but the audience can still expect some passionate tango.
Six couples will perform his Latin-inspired “On the Outside.” Artist Marthann Masterson’s warm-colored painting featuring a group of chairs on one side, and an isolated chair on the other, inspired him.
“It brings a feeling of love, but at the same time of loneliness,” he says of the powerful piece: “I would like to bring it to life.”
Ricki Bertoni’s “Hip to Be Square,” was also inspired by artwork — Miami artist Ernesto Barreto. It is Bertoni’s first time choreographing.
“I found a lot of inspiration from things that had nothing to do with dance,” he says. He drew inspiration from sports; his piece is athletic, energetic and bold and is accompanied by modern electronic music.
Like the other choreographers, he didn’t find it challenging to direct his peers: “I knew what everyone’s strong points are and how they move, and I could use (these) to my advantage,” he says.
Ricardo Graziano drew inspiration for his all-female contemporary ballet, “Symphony of Sorrows,” from music, and spent a sleepless night trying to find the prefect song.
“It’s about a woman who lost her son,” he says. It’s depressing, but beautiful and hopeful.
The choreographer says the process has been great, but challenging. “I love seeing my ideas come to life!” he says.
Jamie Carter’s “Holiday Overture” was also inspired by music. To prepare, he listened to his music three times a day. The song is from a CD he bought eight years ago because the composer, Elliot Carter, had the same last name. It celebrates the liberation of Paris in World War II.
These dancers not only choreograph and direct their peers, but they also have a hand in the lights, music and set. Carter went as far as hand-making garrison-style military hats for his dancers to wear. These pieces have occupied a lot of their time and energy.
As uniform as these dancers have to be at times, their individual dances couldn’t be more different.
Bertoni puts it best: “The diversity of this program is (incredible).”
If You Go
Theatre of Dreams
When: 8 p.m. April 27; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 28; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 29
Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail Sarasota
Cost: $25 to $85
Info: Call the Box Office 359-0099, Ext. 101
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