RIOULT ballet brings modern choreography to Phillips Center


The New York contemporary dance company RIOULT performs at 7:30 tonight at the Phillips Center. (COURTESY OF RIOULT)

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.

Tonight at 7:30, the New York City-based contemporary ballet company RIOULT performs at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Created in 1994, RIOULT has performed at prestigious venues and events such as Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors and North Carolina's American Dance Festival and has toured Canada, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Bermuda and France.

Speaking of France, the company is named for its artistic director, Pascal Rioult, who is a former track and field star in his native France.

In 1981, he came to the U.S. to study modern dance on a fellowship from the French Ministry of Culture. He became principal dancer with the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company and performed worldwide.

Retiring from the stage, Rioult turned his focus to choreography. He receives many grants, as well as commission from across the globe.

The publication Backstage has called RIOULT, “one of the most adept and courageous choreographers in mainstream modern dance today.”

Dance critic Anna Kisselgoff wrote in The New York Times that Rioult “has met the challenge of comparison with George Balanchine”.

Rioult is married to Joyce Herring, the famous Martha Graham principal dancer who also is a founding member of RIOULT and performed with the company until 2004. She now serves as RIOULT'S associate artistic director.

Tonight's program features four works, all choreographed by Rioult.

“Celestial Tides” is set to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat Major.

“Wein” follows the symbolism of the Viennese waltz, from social refinement to a society in disintegration. It is set to music by Ravel.

Also on the bill is Ravel's famous “Boléro,” after which Rioult titles and models his dance interpretation.

The written program notes read: “Ravel challenged himself to repeat as little material as possible as many times as he could without losing the audience's interest. This is exactly what Rioult decided to do with his version, creating a machine-like dance that explores the duality of constant rhythm and sensuality of Boléro, while bringing it to a riveting crescendo.”

Also on tonight's program is “On Distant Shores ... A Redemption Fantasy,”a work that is centered on the Trojan War legend of Helen.

UF dance performances

AT 2 p.m. Saturday, the University of Florida hosts “Florida Moves,” a fundraising showcase for the Florida Dance Association, a statewide organization of dance professionals and educators.

“Florida Moves,” featuring original works from five state schools, is set for the Nadine McGuire Pavilion G-6 Studio Theatre on campus. Admission to “Florida Moves” is $10 at the door, cash only.

Also tonight, and running through Sunday, the UF School of Theatre and Dance stages “CHOREODRAMA: A BFA Dance Pageant.”

Like “Florida Moves,” “CHOREODRAMA” is at the Nadine McGuire Dance Pavilion G-6 Studio. (On-campus parking near the Nadine McGuire Pavilion is available in the Reitz Union parking garage as well as the Museum Road parking lot.)

Tickets for the mixed bill of student and faculty works are $9. Tickets are available through the UF Box Office (392-1653), online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the door.

“CHOREODRAMA” is actually two distinct programs. Program A is performed at 7 p.m. today and Friday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Program B, offering different works, is featured at 9 p.m. today, 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Both programs weave together varying works in a game show-style production with a retro feel. Each program features senior projects from the university's undergraduate dance majors.

Sarah Maze can be reached at sarahi@ufl.edu.

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