Cincinnati Ballet Provides Immersive Dance Experience with Second-Annual Bold Moves Festival

Cincinnati Ballet will incorporate Pride festivities into the 2023 Bold Moves Festival.

click to enlarge Cincinnati Ballet dancers rehearsing February performance of Alice (In Wonderland). - Photo:
Cincinnati Ballet dancers rehearsing February performance of Alice (In Wonderland).
This story is featured in CityBeat's May 31 print edition.

The Cincinnati Ballet is closing out its 2022-2023 season with the second-annual Bold Moves Festival, featuring world-renowned choreographers’ work across two programs, interactive events and immersive performances, providing an opportunity for many to experience a new style of dance.

The festival features two programs held on various dates from June 9-18 for the community to enjoy at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

“I think the festival, how it stands out is it has a more robust offering of events and I think that is what makes it stand apart from our other programming. Each program that we present gives the audience a lot of opportunity to engage,” Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Jodie Gates said.

Nicole Doll, Cincinnati Ballet’s vice president of marketing and brand strategy, said the company wanted to give the audience something different but still highlight the dancers’ and choreographers' talents.

“We wanted to create an experience for our community, as well as for people who might want come from other parts of the country and experience some really high caliber contemporary choreography, and also experience some dance genres that they perhaps hadn’t experienced before,” Doll said

With the festival split up into two programs, Gates said those who attend will have the chance to see two completely different shows.

“Each program has a contemporary aesthetic, so it’s seeing ballet through a contemporary lens,” Gates said.

The first program will take place at 8 p.m. June 9, 2 p.m. June 10, 7:30 p.m. June 15, 8 p.m. June 17 and 1 p.m. June 18. The program features choreography by Cincinnati Ballet’s resident choreographer, Jennifer Archibald, and veteran choreographer William Forsythe, who has worked for the Paris Opera Ballet, Boston Ballet and English National Ballet. There will also be a performance by flamenco artist Irene Rodríguez.

“We have a guest artist, Irene Rodríguez, and she's a flamenco artist,” Gates says. “She trained classically at the National Ballet of Cuba in Havana and now she's a flamenco artist, and she's going to be taking the stage and performing on the same evening as our beautiful dancers,” Gates said. “The two other works on the program give you a variety of what classical ballet looks like within a contemporary format.”

The second program will be performed 8 p.m. June 10, 1 p.m. June 11, 8 p.m. June 16 and 2 p.m. June 17, and will feature choreography by Val Caniparoli, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Garrett Smith.

“Program two has three completely different pieces, each of which give a narrative of sorts by three different choreographers,” Gates said.

The second program will also host a special LGBTQ+ Pride night during the performance on Friday, June 16. Those who attend will receive a free Cincinnati Ballet Rainbow Legs poster and, following the performance, Somerset will host an afterparty.

Doll said that Cincinnati Ballet’s seasons don’t typically run through June, so they were excited to incorporate Pride festivities into the Bold Moves Festival this year.

“(This year’s Bold Moves Festival) is in June, which is kind of cool because it coincides with Pride Month, so we're able to have a Pride night at the festival this year, which is really awesome,” Doll said.

Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased on the Cincinnati Ballet’s website.

In addition to the performances, the festival includes various activities like free art installations, partner exhibits and interactive photo opportunities at the Aronoff Center.

“The sort of array of opportunities to see dance in different ways is exciting for our audiences, and to bring dance to everyone and make it accessible is really, I think, something that I believe our community really loves,” Gates said.

Bold Moves Festival guest artist Rodríguez will lead a dance class on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sheakley Family Premier Studio. Admission is $5.

There will be a Pride night screening of the dance documentary, DANSEUR, which shares the struggles of men who are pursuing their ballet dreams. The screening will take place at the Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. and will be available for those who have tickets to program two. In addition, there will be screenings at the Aronoff Center during each performance where any ticket holder can drop in.

The Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company, which is a select group of 14 up-and-coming dancers, will perform classical and contemporary pieces on June 14 at 8 p.m. at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Tickets start at $20 and the performances will include Confetti by Gerald Arpino, In Auxiliary by Heather Britt, I Feel Good by David Morse and more.

“What's great about this festival is the real opportunity to experience an array of world-class, internationally recognized choreography,” Doll says. “It’s contemporary; it's something that regional ballet companies typically can't really do.”

Cincinnati Ballet’s Bold Moves Festival takes place June 9-18 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. Info:

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