Dancer from the dance

Gail Gilbert: Choreographer by day, dancing Ka Nanny by night.

Now in its third year, A Choreographers' Showcase blends artists from the various Cirque du Soleil productions and Nevada Ballet Theatre in a collaboration that reveals the depth of Las Vegas's choreographic and dance talent.

Dancer/choreographer Gail Gilbert, who set her latest work, Song of the Nightingale, for the artists of Nevada Ballet, moves between the Cirque and dance worlds with ease: In her "day job," Gail performs as the Nanny in the Cirque production of .

Where do the "story" dances figure in your choreographic progression?

Nightingale was the first time I ever did a fairy tale with existing music especially done for the story. It was crazy fun. And the Stravinsky music is so beautiful. But I have always used some sort of personal narrative to bond with the audience, even in works that were seemingly abstract. It stems from the fact that I can't stand to be misunderstood, so it is important that I connect with the audience on a personal level.

There are many beautiful modern story ballets like Appalachian Spring (Martha Graham) and The Moors Pavane (Jose Limon) that, unfortunately, are not seen as widely as they once were. I was tremendously influenced by those and other similar works as they were some of the first dances that I saw.

Is your Showcase piece going to be more abstract or constructed with an obvious storyline?


A Choreographers' Showcase: Cirque du Soleil & Nevada Ballet Theatre
April 18 & 25, 1 p.m., $20-$40.
Mystère Theatre at Treasure Island, (800) 392-1999.

It is somewhat of a narrative, an expression of joy and confidence about being in love. I am using three songs sung by Louis Prima and Keely Smith: "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Autumn Leaves," and "Jump, Jive an' Wail."

I wanted the dance to be as contagious as the music so that the audience will really get involved with them. Each choreographer was given only eight minutes, and I wanted to stay motivated by the music throughout.

It was also my goal to feature the combined abilities of the 18 ballet dancers and acrobats in a way that would showcase everybody's talents — all the tricks — back flips, jetés, pirouettes. I'm keeping it pretty lively.


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