Dance: Carmen at BalletMet

By Columbus Alive
From the November 3, 2011 edition

BalletMet’s upcoming production of Amodio’s work gets its music from Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen,” which premiered in 1875. The plot of this ballet, however, looks at the impact the spicy but sad story has had on audience members in the years since the legendary opera’s debut (which, ironically, critics impugned).

Amodio begins his “Carmen” backstage at a theater where a performance of the opera has just ended. Stagehands and performers walking behind the curtain slowly begin to act out the drama until they are in the costumes — a violinist in the orchestra transforms into Carmen — reliving the heat and consequences of the tale.

The moral of Amodio’s story: Art has the power to affect viewers’ everyday lives.

“I’ve seen a lot of more traditional ‘Carmen’ ballets, but I love this story. I just got chills when I heard the background,” said BalletMet dancer Olivia Clark, who’s one of three dancers trading off portraying Carmen. “As performers, we hope that the energy we put out to the audience to tell the story means more and reaches further than what we just put on stage.”

Portraying Carmen, who is such a sexy, in-command woman, through dance “is a great challenge,” Clark added.

“I think if most women dig deep enough they’ll find there’s a bit of Carmen in them,” Clark said. “She’s morally awry, but she’s at least so confident and strong. All of us women have to have a little bit of that to survive.”

Clark, Adrienne Benz and Annie Mallonee will alternate taking on the challenge, channeling the title character’s rebellious energy to bring home the moral of the original: Fate, independence and passion are oft lonely businesses.