Ballet program runs the gamut

Whimsical, romantic, thought-provoking presentations planned

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February 28, 2002|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Ballet Theatre of Maryland is presenting a mixed repertoire program that is whimsical, sensual, innovative and thought-provoking this weekend at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

For children and all who enjoy whimsy, artistic director Edward Stewart has choreographed a new version of La Boutique Fantasque (The Fantastic Toyshop).

This one-act ballet, originally choreographed by Leonide Masine and set to the music of Rossini, premiered in Moscow in 1919. Stewart has added music by Shostakovich to Rossini's, but he has kept the magic and whimsy intact.

Set in a French toyshop, where dolls, clowns and circus animals entertain clients during the day and each other at night, the ballet features a world tour of dance as dolls perform the Italian tarantella, the Polish mazurka and the French cancan.

Dancing principal roles are Anmarie Touloumis as the Debutante, Jeffrey Watson as the Shopkeeper and Sergei Vladimirov as the Cat, with Dmitri Malikov dancing the Toyshop Patron who falls in love with Doll Ninel Cherevko. A group of 23 local children are cast as dolls, animals and bridesmaids.

Diana and Acteon, a showpiece pas de deux choreographed by Marius Petipa, will be danced by principal ballerina Zhirui Zou and principal dancer Bat-Erdine Udval. This sensual classical ballet is based on the myth of goddess of the hunt Diana and the mortal hunter Acteon, who is instantly smitten by the goddess when he first sees her in the forest.

Stewart's three-movement, neoclassical ballet Spirit of the Sun will be introduced this weekend. This non-narrative ballet, which pays tribute to native Americans, will be danced to the music of contemporary composer Tim Janis, whom Stewart discovered via a compact disc he found at an outdoor arts festival in New York.

Known for his beautiful soothing and therapeutic melodies, Janis seems an appropriate choice. The artistic director features the whole company in this abstract new work.

For this weekend's program, dancer Anton Wilson has designed an abstract work of three movements titled Tease The Turtle, which, he explains, "uses the turtle as a metaphor to show how inhibitions prevent us from realizing all our possibilities and from recognizing our interior landscape." Wilson is using the music of Tony Sims, a soundman he discovered working at Maryland Hall, along with the music of 18th century British composer William Boyce and the Afro-Celt Sound System.

Born in Severna Park, Wilson has danced with the company since 1979 and, as he built a reputation as an innovative choreographer, has danced all over the world. This season he choreographed a ballet that premiered at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's new series "Symphony with a Twist." Wilson has continued to bring his dance vision to BTM productions, adding excitement and a playful freshness.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Maryland Hall. Tickets are $25 to $35 for adults and $15 to $25 for students: 410-263-2909.

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