Classical meets modern at Omaha Dance Project

Laura Theisen and other dancers rehearses Marcus Oatis’ “Opus #2,” which will be part of Omaha Dance Project’s 11th annual performance.


Classical ballet and contemporary and modern dancers will share a stage in the 11th annual Omaha Dance Project.

Opportunities to see classic and contemporary on the same stage are rare and, for Omaha, “It’s a chance to see quality works that are underrepresented,” said Cheryl Lerner, executive director of the Omaha Academy of Ballet.

Each year, the academy hosts city-wide auditions for dancers and commissions works from local and regional choreographers. Lerner said this gives choreographers an opportunity to develop and present their pieces in a full venue and gives non-professional dancers a chance to experience a professional-style performance.

The show opens with “The Awakening of Spring,” a classical ballet piece based on an 1894 performance by Russia’s Imperial Ballet and recreated by Omaha Dance Project director Juliette Henning. The second act includes Marcus Oatis’ contemporary ballet piece “Opus #2.” Oatis is an Omaha Dance Project alumnus and now serves as the Kansas City Ballet school manager.

Other choreographers include Ashley Durst and Nichol Mason Lazenby.

The Creighton Dance Company, Dance Lab Omaha and Tbd., an Omaha-based dance collective, are three companies that will participate in the dance project that will be held starting Friday at the Mary Joy and Tal Anderson Performing Arts Center at Marian High School.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mary Joy and Tal Anderson Performing Arts Center at Marian High School, 7400 Military Ave.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and adults over age 65.

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