Preview: BalletMet Global Dance Gala

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From the August 16, 2012 edition

BalletMet announced in May that Artistic Director Gerard Charles would be leaving Columbus to work with The Joffrey, Chicago’s esteemed ballet company. Charles stuck around to help the group he’s led for more than 10 years prepare for the 2012-13 season, but now it’s time for a proper send-off — complete with dance celebrities.

For the Global Dance Gala, ballet dancers from around the world — many with ties to BalletMet — are taking to the Ohio Theatre stage.

Perhaps the most notable names on the program are New York City Ballet principals Abi Stafford and Jared Angle. Two top dancers from arguably the best ballet company in the country performing in Columbus for less than $40? That’s probably going to happen again, well, never. For this bill Stafford and Angle, who also dance with former City Ballet principal Tom Gold’s company, will perform Gold’s choreography for Gershwin’s “Three Preludes.”

Also on the program: Houston Ballet principal dancers Amy Fote and Simon Ball will perform a pas de deux from “Madame Butterfly” choreographed by former BalletMet Artistic Associate Stanton Welch. Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley from the English company Northern Ballet will present part of former BalletMet Artistic Director David Nixon’s new work “Cleopatra.” And National Ballet of Canada principal dancers Greta Hodgkinson and Guillauame Cote will show off the Black Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake.” BalletMet dancers and tap dancer Marshall Davis Jr. also will take the stage.

Despite Charles’ departure, the company will not be lacking in artistic leadership. Renowned choreographer James Kudelka is serving as artistic consultant for the group this season. And the company is pleased to be sorting through 88 resumes submitted by candidates vying to replace Charles, according to BalletMet spokesman Terence Womble.

Photo: Abi Stafford