‘Inventive’ ballet co. performs Saturday

By Lynn Hammarstrom

The small but inventive troupe of dancers known as the Theater Ballet of Canada will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. in DeKalb’s Egyptian Theater.

The company, which has been in existence since February of 1981, was formed when two dance troupes, EntreSix of Montreal and Ballet Ys of Toronto, merged.

After a somewhat turbulent beginning, TBC grew to become one of Canada’s premiere small dance ensembles. Under the guiding hand of artistic director and resident choreographer Lawrence Gradus, the troupe has been described as “inventive,” “innovative” and “breathtaking.”

Gradus has been with the company since its formation and has received the Jean A. Chalmers Award in Choreography. He has created over 20 ballets for the TBC, blending the movements of the classical ballet with a highly modern perspective.

A dancer prior to his career as a choreographer, Gradus was a soloist with the American Ballet Theater and with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens. He also has danced numerous roles on Broadway and in Summer Stock Theater.

The works in TBC’s repertoire are as diverse as the dancers themselves. Music ranging from the “show tunes” of Leonard Bernstein to the classical strains of Debussy accompany the dancers as they perform such pieces as “Moralities,” a dance based on three of Aesop’s fables, and “Tribute,” a classical ballet dedicated to the memory of Gradus’ first wife.

Current topics such as sexual attitudes are examined in several of the pieces. “Liberated,” choreographed by Lynn Taylor Corbett, finds the male dancers in the piece far more interested in each other than in their female partners. Julie West’s “Angular Momentum” investigates male and female stereotypes in our society with a humorous look at dress as a means of expression.

Theater Ballet of Canada is brought to NIU by the Campus Activities Board as part of its Fine Arts Series. Tickets to the performance are $4 for NIU students and can be purchased at the Sandburg Box Office, located in the Holmes Student Center and at the Junction Book Room, 822 W. Lincoln Hwy.