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Donald Mahler began his ballet career as an eager dancer; he's moved on to be a somewhat reluctant coach. "They asked me to go to France to coach a production of one of Anthony Tudor's ballets, and I said no. Even though I had danced in the piece, I didn't feel that I knew it well enough and I'd never done coaching before."

Nevertheless, the project was successful. "They persisted. Finally, I did agree to go-with an assistant. Actually, it came out rather well and now, twenty years later, I'll be going back to France to coach the same piece."

The piece is Anthony Tudor's Lilac Garden. Before Mahler returns to France, he'll direct it for the IU Ballet Theater's Spring Ballet, New York, New York!

Dancing All Over The World

"I'm happy to be working with this ballet. Like all of Tudor's pieces, it's simply beautiful. Although it's danced to Ernest Chausson's Poem for Violin and Orchestra, it feels as if the music were written for the dance and not visa versa.

"It's also delightful that we'll have a live accompaniment with the School of Music's competition winner violinist Benjamin Hoffman. He's been very good about coming and playing with our pianist at rehearsals."

In addition to Lilac Garden, the Spring Ballet offers Paul Taylor's Cloven Kingdom, with its exploration of animal nature under the veneer of civilization, and George Balanchine's playful and energetic Who Cares?

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