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A Choreographer’s Evening

The Indiana University Ballet Theater's fall ballet is A Choreographer's Evening. The company is diligently working on Twyla Tharp's Noir, Allegro Brillante and George Balanchine's Glinka Pas de Trois. Meanwhile, they are also working on creating The Baker Dances, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse.

Joshua Bergasse is a freelance performer and choreographer with a wide range of credits. No stranger to IU, he has choreographed a short piece for the Ballet Theater's On the Edge program. and then returned to direct the dance for The Most Happy Fella and West Side Story at the IU Opera Theater.


It was while working on West Side Story that Bergasse came up with a title for his piece."We wanted to do a piece with David Baker's music," he says, referring to the symphonic jazz composer at IU's Jacobs School of Music. "We hadn't selected the pieces, but the University wanted a title for advance publicity. A student stage manager that I was working with suggested TBA, which stands for 'to be announced.' It was a good idea, but I wasn't ready to give up. Just the next day, it occurred to me that we could simply change the ‘A' to a ‘D' and called it The Baker Dances."

The collaboration between  composer and choreographer is deep. "Now that we have selected the music, I'm very pleased that it covers a spectrum of David Baker's work. He's very much involved. He's conducting a big band for his '5M Calypso,' and he's coaching the group that will play 'Boogie Woogie' from the trio he wrote for Menahem Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio. We'll also have a chamber group led by Charles Latshaw to play Baker's 'Aspects of Andy.'"

The Heat Is On

During past visits to IU, Bergasse has worked with as many as four different departments in Opera Theater productions. "This time, there's just the one main department. But with three challenging pieces and my own, it's pretty busy. One of the faculty, Violette Verdy, says the place feels like a factory, with heat just rising from the dance floor. "

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