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Verb Ballets Presents Dreamweaver, a Salute to Surrealism


CLEVELAND - Verb Ballets, Cleveland’s national repertory dance company, returns to The Cleveland Play House, at 8pm on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, with an exciting program of three works that celebrate the surreal, all choreographed by Verb’s Artistic Director Hernando Cortez. The program features a world premiere, “Ocean Depths,” by Verb’s Artistic Director Hernando Cortez, with music by Cleveland composer and NASA Glenn/RSIS technologist, Richard Rinehart.

FusionFest Program

Unquiet Minds, a revival set to excerpts from selected piano works by Francis Poulenc, was originally developed by Mr. Cortez on American Ballet Theatre II, and commissioned by ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. Reworked and re-envisioned for Verb Ballets, “Unquiet Minds” brings to life “Commedia dell’arte” characters in their tragic, yet hopeful, existence.

Like Being Awake Sleeping and Hearing Seeing is Hernando Cortez’ surreal dreamscape piece inspired by the works of Meret Oppenheim and Max Ernst. Premiered at Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival in the summer of 2005, “Like Being Awake Sleeping and Hearing Seeing” pits opposite human states and senses together, aiming to create an evocative, rather than informative, experience for the audience.

Ocean Depths, the world premiere of Hernando Cortez’ choreography, is set to a world premiere composition by Richard Rinehart. “Ocean Depths” is an Orpheus and Eurydice tale, where the action takes place on and under the sea, and where a couple’s love eventually saves them from the depths or, in effect, from themselves. The music will be played live by pianist Michael Schneider. “Ocean Depths” is underwritten by RSIS, a NASA Glenn contractor, and the Bascom Little Fund.

Richard Rinehart, the composer of Ocean Depths, works for RSIS at NASA Glenn Research Center. His particular expertise is in the areas of supercomputing and graphics and visualization. Musically, he has composed three symphonies, numerous soundtracks for video, and an alternative Rock CD of original music under the band name “Almost Huemon.” About “Ocean Depths,” Richard has stated, “I am a colorist. My main compositional influences are Ravel, Stravinsky, Martinu, and of course, Nine Inch Nails. ”Ocean Depths“ was originally crafted as a ballet in the vein of the great Stravinsky works. It is a fast-paced, magical odyssey that takes place mostly underwater.” Richard’s electronic orchestra is capable of simulating a relatively large orchestra, where the orchestral sounds created are synthesized from actual samples of real acoustic instruments. Composer Rinehart creates a symphonic alternative that is original and powerful, yet still respectful of the orchestral tradition.

Michael Schneider (pianist, Ocean Depths) made his orchestral debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with the San Angelo Symphony at the age of eleven. Critics have since hailed Mr. Schneider as “a pianist with exceptional insight” and a “performer with great panache” in performances that have included Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, the International Chopin Festival at the legendary chateau of George Sand in France, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Steinway Hall, and the 8th annual Paderewski Festival in California. He has performed as a soloist with the Wroclaw and Bydgoszcz Philharmonic Orchestras in Poland, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra, and the Richardson Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Schneider is a laureate of many international competitions, most recently the International Lizst Competition held in Poland. Other top prizes include the San Antonio International Piano Competition, the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, the International Paderewski Competition in Poland, and the Grace Welsh Prize for Piano. Mr. Schneider is an Artist Diploma candidate at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Paul Schenly and Daniel Shapiro.

The Verb Ballets Company is now in its fifth season under the leadership of Artistic Director Hernando Cortez, Executive Director Margaret Carlson, and an energetic staff and board of trustees who have established it as Cleveland’s premiere dance repertory company. Verb has been named as one of “25 to Watch in 2004” by Dance Magazine, the country’s leading news magazine covering dance. Verb Ballets discovers, collects, interprets and stages choreography that matters to the region and to the world of dance. As a curator of expressive movement that is globally connected and nationally respected, Verb Ballets has a mandate to support and foster emerging talent, present excellence in contemporary choreographers, and revive and honor modern dance classics.


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