‘Ballets With a Twist’ leads the way in reaching new audiences


It doesn’t feel like they do it to fulfill a foundation, or government, ‘outreach’ grant — although they certainly deserve one. They seem to do it by instinct, by coupling brains, creativity and talent with a genuine desire to connect and entertain. That’s why I applaud boutique ballet company ‘Ballets With a Twist for its successful strategy of adding extra value to a general audience’s experience. The company’s swirling cocktail-themed repertoire is putting new eyes on dance, and that’s something the dance world desperately needs given the recent shutterings of Jessica Lang Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and Trey McIntyre Project.

At BWAT, cabaret is not a dirty word. It’s an opportunity. “Cocktail Hour: The Show” starts by ceding dance’s hegemony over fellow art forms. Company artistic director Marilyn Klaus puts her dancers in front of an audience with old-fashioned values. The witty and wonderful costumes are finessed by designer Catherine Zehr (she is a modern tutu master). Whenever possible, the troupe dances to live accompaniment by the B-Twist Orchestra led by Grammy-nominated keyboardist/composer Stephen Gaboury (for more than a decade a band member and musical arranger for Cyndi Lauper). And they travel to the audience, last evening presenting  “Cocktail Hour: The Show” at Jersey City’s White Eagle Hall — a highly non-traditional place to view dance. Audience got drink service throughout the program, and a nearby restaurant offered a prix-fixe dinner for show-goers. Win-win-win-win.

I plucked and re-posted, below, several of the engaging ‘comments’ following a podcast on WFMU of an interview with Klaus (begins 05:18) in advance of the Jersey City show. I find the comments to be charming (mostly) and wonderful for dance. Not a single one comes from a balletomane. This stiff jigger of arts entrepreneurialism is shaken, or stirred, with Klaus’s double-shot of ballet-romanticism. Chin-chin to our friends at Ballets With a Twist ~!


COMMENTS REPRINTED FROM WFMU
Interview with Marilyn Klaus begins at 05:18

12/5/18 7:02pm ultradamno
Ever see that ballet movie where all the dancers are mean to one another?

12/5/18 7:02pm Jeff Moore
Question for the class: Which tend to be more disturbingly damaged after decades in the profession, chef fingers or dancer toes?

12/5/18 7:04pm dale
is this like a sexy burlesque ballet?

12/5/18 7:05pm Kate
What’s a Furry episode?

12/5/18 7:05pm Folsom
Did they show you their feet?

12/5/18 7:07pm Emily
Oh, you’re going to LOVE the furry episode, @Kate

12/5/18 7:07pm Emily
Google “furries”

12/5/18 7:07pm kimzilla
This show is all high brow folks, no furries, this week, but we have some really weird shows coming up, including furries!

12/5/18 7:08pm Emily
Furries will be THIS MONTH!!!

12/5/18 7:08pm Aaron in Minneapolis
Dont google it, trust me

12/5/18 7:10pm dale
i hope there’s no Harry Potter ballet in the works.

12/5/18 7:11pm kimzilla
Unless she makes a Butter Beer piece, then nope.

12/5/18 7:12pm Aaron in Minneapolis
A Harry Potter Furry Ballet

12/5/18 7:12pm kimzilla
Aaron’s on fire tonight folks!

12/5/18 7:14pm Richard S
Hello! Tuning in for this week’s after dinner conversation.

12/5/18 7:15pm Kate
What is a BBQ outfit?

12/5/18 7:18pm Kate
Hello all! Listening all the way down in New Brunswick tonight.

12/5/18 7:20pm Kate
greetings from Baltimore!

12/5/18 7:22pm Richard S
CHARM CITY IN DA HOUSE!

12/5/18 7:24pm JakeGould
@Jeff: I gotta say you asked a very good question and since nobody else will guess, I will say dancer’s toes get more effed up.

12/5/18 7:24pm Peter Zummo
Cirque de so…

12/5/18 7:25pm Richard S
Anyone who says ballet dancers are sissies should wear one of their costumes.

12/5/18 7:27pm Kate
@ Richard, they really are extraordinary athletes.

12/5/18 7:28pm Emily
It was incredible watching them rehearse—the athleticism and grace and CONTROL…

12/5/18 7:29pm Kate
@ Jake, I just didn’t want to think about deformed feet, I have a thing…

12/5/18 7:32pm Aaron in Minneapolis
Fetish?

12/5/18 7:32pm Ken From Hyde Park
Ballet is just tutu much for most people.

12/5/18 7:32pm Aaron in Minneapolis
BOO GET OFF THE STAGE!!!!!

12/5/18 7:32pm Kate
These women really don’t seem like the prima donna types I would have expected

12/5/18 7:34pm Aaron in Minneapolis
Sorry that was for Ken, not the dancers

12/5/18 7:34pm Hoboken Jack
Mixing it up with a DIY show tonight!

12/5/18 7:39pm Jeff Moore
@Kate right?? They were so sweet and easygoing!

12/5/18 7:44pm Kate
@ Emily tell them about belly dancing!

12/5/18 7:45pm Emily
Hahahaha oh gosh I mean, I was in a belly dancing troupe for two years…? I’m not bad, actually.

12/5/18 7:45pm Kate
I think I have a video of that somewhere. . .

12/5/18 7:47pm Aaron in Minneapolis
I smell blackmail!!!

12/5/18 7:47pm kimzilla
She just showed me her signature belly dancing moves LIVE in studio B!

12/5/18 7:48pm Richard S
I could use a hot toddy right about now.

12/5/18 7:56pm kimzilla
@Kimzilla what night is that?

12/5/18 7:58pm Richard S
Great show! Thanks!

12/5/18 7:59pm Jeff Moore
Delicious!

12/5/18 8:00pm Jeff Moore
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T MAKE IT AT HOME?
Gotta have green (and yellow) Chartreuse, and definitely some Luxardo Maraschino.

12/5/18 8:00pm Jeff Moore
Great show ladies! The preview video on Ballets with a Twist is worth watching!

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