In September 1997, BalletMet Columbus became the first North American company to perform "Requiem!!," the signature 1991 work of German choreographer Birgit Scherzer.

In September 1997, BalletMet Columbus became the first North American company to perform "Requiem!!," the signature 1991 work of German choreographer Birgit Scherzer.

"'Requiem!!' was such a big hit with the audiences," recalled Gerard Charles, BalletMet's artistic director. "The demand for it to return the very next season was pretty unprecedented. Normally the cycle for dance works is every five years or more."

Now BalletMet is finally bringing back "Requiem!!," with Scherzer assisting at the rehearsals.

After all this time, the big question remains: What's up with those two exclamation points? Charles suggests they "signify that it is more than just a dance to Mozart's music of that name. It is a dance piece in its own right with its own purpose and artistry."

Mozart's "Requiem" has inspired many choreographers, but Scherzer has rearranged and repeated its sections to form a three-movement ballet.

"The concept, the storyline and the choreography were all conceived in tandem with decisions to arrange the music in a certain way so that the whole works incredibly well as a single piece of theater," Charles said. "Birgit is a very musical choreographer, and she pays strict attention to musical detail, phrasing, etc. I find her work often highlights some of the less obvious moments in the music."

Charles particularly appreciates having Scherzer work with the company.

"Her presence adds a tangible authenticity to the work," he said. "Returning to a work such as this is an interesting barometer of where we have all traveled."