Houston dance theater comes to Victoria

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Nov. 2, 2012 at 6:02 a.m.

A scene from "Camille Claudel," a narrative ballet composed by Dominic Walsh.

A scene from "Camille Claudel," a narrative ballet composed by Dominic Walsh.

"Sexy" is how ballet lovers like to describe the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.

The ballet company will bring a sensuous French drama and another ballet set to Japanese drums to the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday.

A trip to the River Oaks movie theater led ballet director Dominic Walsh to compose "Camille Claudel."

The former principal dancer for the Houston Ballet premiered the narrative ballet in March at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston.

Walsh was 17 years old when he first saw the 1988 French film, starring Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Adjani, about Claudel and her scorned lover, Auguste Rodin.

"I look at all kinds of good art for inspiration," Walsh said. "I always keep a choreographic mind for the way in which people tell stories."

Claudel was a young sculptor when she started working in Rodin's workshop in 1884.

A love affair sprouted between the two famed sculptors.

Their love recedes into hate years later when Claudel accuses Rodin of stealing her ideas.

"She is a very strong and controversial figure," Walsh said. "Her works contains a sense of ecstasy."

Walsh said he believes men continue to suppress ambitious women in the work force.

"I think it's a little idealistic to say it doesn't happen anymore," Walsh said. "The men of the time were afraid of her."

Saturday's show will open on a more upbeat note, before the tragic narrative ballet takes the stage.

"Uzume," is a ballet between two dancers set to the sound of Japanese taiko drumming.

The dynamic ballet premiered Oct. 19 at the new Asia Society Texas Center in Houston.

"It's about the fragility of life and the passion of how we hold on to it," Walsh said.

The tutu worn by the principal ballerina is constructed of "washi," traditional Japanese paper art.

"It's a very virtuosic piece of work," Walsh said, "more of a skills showcase."



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