WEST PLAINS, Mo.– “Ballet with a twist” is how officials with the Missouri Contemporary Ballet described their upcoming performance at 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the West Plains Civic Center theater.
It is being presented by Missouri State University-West Plains’ University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department. Tickets are $8 each and available at the civic center box office. Children age 13 and under will be admitted free.
The performance is being made possible with a grant from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with an award from Missouri State-West Plains’ annual fund.
“It’s a privilege to be able to present this cultural opportunity for area students and the community,” said U/CP Theater and Events Coordinator Deborah DeWitt. “It’s not every day you can see a professional ballet company in our own area. I hope everyone will take advantage of this rare performance at their front door.”
The Missouri Contemporary Ballet is a professional dance company that is committed to creating dance entertainment through the art of contemporary ballet, according to U/CP officials. The company creates exciting, edgy and hip entertainment to make the experience of live dance an artful and joyful event for all ages, they add.
“My goal is to give dancers a positive, yet disciplined, space to discover their center core and expand their hearts and minds, while also allowing them to explore the diverse aspects of dance,” said Karen Mareck Grundy, the company’s artistic/executive director.
Grundy was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nev., where her dance training began at the age of three. In 2000, Grundy began an nine-year tenure teaching at the Columbia (Mo.) Performing Arts Centre. She has trained dancers who have continued their education at such prestigious venues as The Juilliard School, The Lines School, Dance Kaleidoscope, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Broadway. She also has served as artistic director for Cedar Lake II.
Her dream, however, was to lead her own company, which happened in 2006 with the formation of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. The troupe consists of seven close-knit dancers, two male and five female.
Through the years, Grundy has created a style that is fresh and innovative by supplementing her classical ballet skills with modern training and adding a twist from the productions of Las Vegas, making her work accessible to all.
Those attending April 29 shouldn’t expect to see picturesque ballerinas twirling traditional pirouettes or standard jetés, DeWitt said. Performances by the Missouri Contemporary Ballet more closely resemble those seen on the popular Fox TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“This is not your typical Swan Lake or Nutcracker Ballet,” DeWitt said. “This performance is going to be as their motto states, ‘ballet with a twist.’ The music will not be classical, and the costumes are not tutus, but it promises to be something you’ve never experienced before.”