Gary Taylor’s ‘Metropolis’ returns to Winston-Salem Festival Ballet
By: Terry Rader
Back by popular demand, “Gary Taylor’s Metropolis – a cityscape story screaming to be told” presented by Winston-Salem Festival Ballet returns on March 28-31 at Hanesbrands Theatre in Winston-Salem. This production features the original musical compositions of Chris Heckman, Eric Schwartz, John Wilson, and Tracy Thornton and is presented as a collection of “short stories that move.”
“From a business professional to an office administrator, to construction workers, to the resident of a tiny urban apartment, everyone has a story, a connection or relationship that is significant in its own way. Marry my storyline with original music and sounds of the city from talented composers right here in the Triad, and you have the return of ‘Metropolis,’” comments founder and artistic director Gary Taylor in the press release.
According to the press release, Gary is the founder and artistic director of the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet and is known for his mastery of award-winning original works, innovative choreography, partnering, instruction, and performance as well as his videography and photography. The Winston-Salem Festival Ballet is a professional dance company and a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit with funding through The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and with corporate and individual supporters.
Executive director Rita Taylor said Gary’s “Metropolis” premiered in 2012, and she described him as having a unique way of “highlighting slices of life through his awareness of things around him with his mastery of storytelling.”
“Metropolis” features the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet professional dancers and guest artists from North Carolina, New York, Chicago, and Tennessee.
Rita said that the show expressed its message in the same way we envision the word “metropolis:” a big sprawling city with people sharing smaller living spaces and the various intricacies of day-to-day life. Before seeing the production, she said, spectators will be struck by the unique seating arrangement, designed to immerse the audience in the production.
“There are doors that are suspended around the theatre and behind each door is a story,” Rita said.
Rita said that this production features all the elements of a thriving metropolis and people of all walks of life are portrayed through the dancers. For example, in the humorous Room 213, a man tries to sleep in a small apartment enclosure with all the sounds of the city. Another segment highlights the excitement of the end of a tough work week. Rita said other stories illustrate how passing someone on a busy street can create a connection that can change your life in a matter of a moment and how love can be found in the most unlikely places. The nuances of strangers in the city and how they come together in both serious and humorous ways are danced through scenes such as Steel Dream, Recycled Love, Blind Date, Friday, 5 PM, and the Club. Black Out is an experience all its own as the cityscape is cast into total darkness while the dancers illuminate the stage. Rita said that the conclusion of the production brings everyone together and portrays how they are all inter-connected.
Rita said those familiar with Gary’s work know when he reprises one of his productions, while the name may remain the same, the performance always has refreshing new elements to experience and “Metropolis” is no exception. With so many new names and faces added to the cast list, Gary incorporates each’s movement style in all considerations from casting to choreography, to even musical composition. She added that Gary is premiering a new storyline to this year’s performance specially tailored to his cast members. She said that those who have seen “Metropolis” before would not have the same experience again. Gary encourages audience members to enjoy the show more than once during the run and choose a different seat location or vantage point for a totally new experience.
“Metropolis” opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28. Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30 evening shows both begin at 8 p.m., and there will be a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 31. Tickets range from $30.50 – $35.75 and ALL fees are included in these prices. College students with a valid ID may purchase RUSH tickets 15 minutes before the show, based on availability.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, storyteller, poet, singer/songwriter, wellness herbalist and owner, Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/house sitting.
March 28-31, Gary Taylor’s “Metropolis,” Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St, Hanesbrands Box Office: (336) 747-1414, Winston-Salem Festival Ballet, 205-P S. Stratford Rd. (336) 724-9977