Three collaborators. Two centuries. One celebration. “Jazz Moves Columbus” brings together BalletMet Columbus, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and WOSU Public Media for a Columbus bicentennial program “to celebrate our city through the vital art forms that this town has nurtured,” BalletMet Artistic Director Gerard Charles said in an email interview.
The joint project began with Charles taking music suggestions from CJO Artistic Director Byron Stripling to various choreographers. Selections were finally narrowed down to five new works, plus revivals of Randy Duncan’s “Testify” and Harrison McEldowney’s “Topsy,” set to music of the late Columbus drummer Cozy Cole.
WOSU contributes archival images from its “Columbus Neighborhood” series that are projected onto the stage. The photos and videos “provide a link to our history, to make a statement in their own way, but not to be a distraction from the two other art forms on the stage,” Charles said.
Two of the choreographers have strong Central Ohio ties. Longtime Otterbein dance faculty member Stella Hiatt Kane uses a medley from “West Side Story” to suggest how society has evolved in its racial attitudes. Broadway veteran and Otterbein graduate Dan Knechtges contributes the finale, “Motown Moves,” which Charles explained “has a narrative, humor and wit as well as rousing dancing for the entire company.”
The remaining three new works are McEldowney’s “CTA” to the music of Chicago, Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s suite set to Miles Davis’ take on “Porgy and Bess” and a suite by Darrell Grand Moultrie.
Topping it all off are selections from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams following each performance.