ORLANDO – Robert Hill, the artistic director of the Orlando Ballet, says there’s a clear theme behind their upcoming production, “Battle of the Sexes III.”
“It’s a lot of different things,” he said. “It’s the battle of the sexes, so there will be clear battles between men and women.”
Standing inside the studio at the Orlando Ballet’s office at 1111 N. Orange Ave., Hill looked out at the large cast of dancers who will be performing “Battle of the Sexes III” on Feb. 10-12 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, and add, “We start the show kind of showing everyone co-existing together, nicely, and it goes in different directions from there.”
This morning, the Orlando Ballet held a media preview of the show, inviting the press in to get a glimpse of what audiences are likely to be lining up for next week.
“We have a couple of little pieces for you today,” Hill said. “We have a week to clean up these things, but I feel like we’re in good shape.”
Hill added that he liked having his dancers do a test run for the media before they get up on the stage at the Bob Carr.
“It’s good to have them perform in front of others,” he said. “They work harder.”
His performers, likewise, said they felt ready for audiences.
“I just try to have fun,” said Katia Garza. “Otherwise, it would not be the pleasure of dancing. When we are in the studio, we’re thinking constantly of technique.”
“Battle of the Sexes III” is, obviously, the third and final segment in a trilogy.
“It’s number three, and hopefully it will be as good as or better than one or two,” Hill said. “There’s no surprise ending. I thought of doing a cliffhanger at the end, in case we decided to bring it back in a couple of years, but decided no.”
In the meantime, though, said Dipika Joshi, press spokesperson for the Orlando Ballet, “The battle still rages.”
Garza said this latest installment would be different from the earlier two.
“ ‘Battle I’ was more aggressive,” she said. “ ‘Battle II’ was more about the feelings that people have.”
Joshi said audiences should also expect some creative songs to be woven into this production.
“Every ‘Battle,’ there’s always a choice of music,” she said.
“I have a whole catalog of music in my brain that I think will work great with this,” Hill said. “I love music. I wish I was a musician.”
In fact, Hill said some of his dancers also happen to be very talented singers, and he felt tempted initially to find a way to work that into the production as well, though ultimately he decided not to.
“I like to show off whatever talent we have,” he said. “A lot of them can sing, and I wanted to incorporate some of that into this show, but we didn’t.”
Asked if this segment of “Battle” was about love or sex, Hill responded, “I think it’s both. There’s equal parts. It’s lust, sex, passion, and love.”
The third installment of the “Battle of The Sexes” series promises high energy and sensual dancing, Hill said, and also happens to be the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day weekend. Employing a mix of classic and contemporary music, Orlando Ballet reenacts a conflict between the sexes that has been ongoing for ages: which is the fairer gender?
“Although this is the last part of the series, it is a standalone piece as well,” said Hill. “The themes and emotions expressed in this performance are relatable to all types of audiences. We are ready to thrill audiences yet again and show them things they’ve never seen before.”
To keep modern audiences entertained, said Dierde Miles Burger, director of the Orlando Ballet School, “Dancers nowadays, they have to be able to move.”
Tickets for the show range from $15 to $75. Performances are Feb. 10-11 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 407-426-1739 or visit orlandoballet.org.
Established in 1974, Orlando Ballet is the professional resident ballet company in the Greater Orlando area, employing a full-time company of national and international dancers, performing both full-length classical ballets and contemporary repertoire programs.
Hill said he benefits from having such great talent attending the school.
“These guys are amazing to work with,” he said. “I think keeping ballet relevant in today’s world is important.”
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