On Friday, thousands of couples in Central Kentucky will be ensconced at tables for two in celebration of Valentine's Day. But for some savvy Romeos, the evening will include an added element of romance: ballet.
For one weekend only, Lexington Ballet is presenting "A Dance Affair," an intimate evening of dance in the performance hall of ArtsPlace, just downstairs from where the company rehearses.
On Friday, attendees will dine on prime rib and sip wine while the ballet's professional dancers and advanced student dancers perform romantic selections choreographed to classical and modern music. The event sold out well in advance, so ballet leaders added a performance on Saturday.
Saturday's performance features the dancing portion of the event but no dinner or drinks. As such, it is a "pay what you can" event, making the hourlong production accessible to anyone.
"A Dance Affair" is in stark contrast to the behemoth productions that are typical of ballet. December's production of The Nutcracker, for instance, featured hundreds of cast and crew members. But Valentine's Day presented the company with the opportunity to scale down and create an intimate experience for patrons.
Artistic director Luis Dominguez says that the small-scale production is an excellent way for the company to highlight signature selections from its continually expanding classical repertoire while embracing new works with a more modern slant.
"It's all based in the classical vernacular, but it's a very eclectic evening of dance," says Dominguez, who choreographed most of the pieces.
Some of the signature works include classical interpretations of an aria by Vivaldi, Sergey Prokofiev's Cinderella and Claude Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun.
"Afternoon of a Faun was a big hit in 'Tribute to Ballet Russe,'" says Dominguez, referring to a tribute show to Russian ballet earlier this season.
In addition to the "greatest hits" moments of the show, Dominguez has choreographed new pieces set to modern music that are designed to add romantic flavor to the evening.
"We're creating material that is romantic and appropriate for the weekend," Dominguez says.
This includes works set to 20th-century songs including Donny Hathaway's A Song for You, Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Lady and Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water.
"Some of the new pieces are really in tune with what you want a signature piece to be," Dominguez says. "The dancers get to move in a certain way and master it until they become signature pieces.
"That's what happened to that and A Song for You. It's also in that unique style where you don't have to kill yourself, but you have to be really accurate in portraying the work, in connecting with your partner and your song. That's why it's so spectacular to be able to do opportunities like this."
Candace Chaney is a Lexington-based writer.