“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” – Alan Jay Learner
By Christi Geary
What do you think of when someone mentions ballet? I’m guessing it is something along the lines of good dancing accompanied by some classical music, with a bit of a story to bring it all together. While that suffices as a general description, it does not begin to give justice to the sheer artistry and splendor of Cincinnati Ballet. This company, led by Victoria Morgan, continues to reach extraordinary heights of achievement. It has been my privilege to enjoy the unique and exquisite productions for more than ten years and I continue to be surprised by the emotional journey that each and every production evokes.
King Arthur’s Camelot is absolutely no exception and in fact, may be my favorite production ever from the Cincinnati Ballet. That might in part be driven by my love of the story and fascination with the historical myth (or is it?) surrounding the tale, but it is also a human reaction to an amazing work of art. When this ballet first premiered in 2014 with an original music composition by Canadian composer John Estacio and original choreography by Victoria Morgan, it was considered groundbreaking. The description is still accurate, but the 2017 King Arthur’s Camelot is nothing short of spectacular. It goes beyond ballet with its visually stunning set and light projections that make you feel as if you are literally transported to the magical land of Camelot. The non-stop vibrancy of dance and music embraces your emotions and unleashes your imagination, leaving you breathless with anticipation even when you know the outcome of the story.
What sets this particular production apart and makes it so effective are the powerful performances by each and every dancer in the cast. They are not simply performing a technically challenging ballet; they have truly become the dramatic characters that they so beautifully portray. The power of this timeless tale is brought to life by dancers so talented that they may as well have been cast by Merlin himself; King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere and Mordred bring you their side of the story without uttering a single word and the supporting dancers are nothing short of magnificent. Every part of this production was magical and stunning, but it was the intimacy of the story across love, betrayal, and integrity that ultimately make you feel like you have triumphed yourself just by having the privilege of experiencing this ballet.
Clearly the ballet was a treat in and of itself, but it was also an opportunity for me to share my love for this art form and the story by sharing it with my oldest daughter. She is almost 10 years old and a voracious reader. Upon learning we would be going to the ballet, she asked if we could go to the Cincinnati Public Library and get some books on Arthur, Camelot and Excalibur. She immersed herself in the tale and felt the magic from the moment King Arthur’s shield was projected and gently billowing on the stage. While the story and the portrayal is intense, she loved every moment and came away asking for more books. This was not her first ballet, but it was her favorite and it did more than just entertain for an afternoon; it opened another avenue of exploration and discovery. We could not ask for anything more from art and that is exactly what Cincinnati Ballet offers every time they take the stage.
Here is Charli’s review in her own words: “A phenomenal show that really makes you feel like you are in Camelot. Lancelot and Guinevere’s dancing was outstanding and heartbreaking. I’m looking forward to learning more about this story through movies and books. It was my favorite ballet ever.”
If you missed King Arthur’s Camelot this time around, rest assured that this magical performance will be back some day. When something is this powerful, it takes its place in history and becomes something that lives on forever in our hearts and minds. Cincinnati Ballet continues to elevate its game and each production goes above and beyond; take a chance on something magical and join for the next one!
HINTS & TIPS for the parents in the audience:
Christi Geary is the proud mom of two girls under 10, best friend and wife of her husband Brian, and an Associate Director at the Procter & Gamble Company focused on shopper insights and analytics. She enjoys art of all kinds, feeds an insatiable curiosity for learning, pursues different forms of exercise when she can find the time, and delights in spending time with family and friends!