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'The JellyFish Ballet'

In "The JellyFish Ballet," ballerinas and aerialists seek to embody the smooth, effortless fluidity of those sea creatures as they convey the devastation following the recent earthquake in Haiti and the triumph of human resolve.

Tilt Dance Theatre, a Rogue Valley-based aerial dance company, will present the multimedia show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 11, at Le Cirque Centre, 280 E. Hersey St., No. 12, Ashland.

The ballet, choreographed by Lorenzo SantaBarbara, will feature Tilt dancers Diane Horbacewicz and Shayne Carnahan, as well as two local dancers, Alexandrea Moore and Mary Landos, and youth dancers Senora Mindling, Angela Henty, Cara Feldman and Leah Dacus, who will perform in the black-light scene. The ballet will be Tilt's second performance since the company was formed more than a year ago.

"The JellyFish Ballet" fuses modern dance and ballet, performed both on and off the ground using ropes, aerial straps and silks, bungee ropes, a trapeze and lyras, or aerial hoops.

SantaBarbara says he selected the jellyfish to represent grace and beauty amidst destruction.

"The jellyfish is almost like it's moving across a glass surface, and underneath the surface is the reality of being part of this planet," says SantaBarbara. "We do experience devastation. We experience good and things that are not good, but our human spirit is designed to reach out and help each other ... this is the message of the jellyfish."

SantaBarbara used a 10-foot flexible pole, an umbrella and several yards of chiffon to create a jellyfish which is carried around the stage by a dancer in a white mask.

"The jellyfish creates this ominous, mystical creature that brings you into the devastation, and you are brought out of the devastation by an aerial chandelier that swings from one side of the stage to the other, so what the audience sees is a chandelier with one light in it ... then a hand appears and slides into the light and then slowly moves toward the light," says SantaBarbara.

This act, performed by Horbacewicz, was choreographed to represent a person caught below the rubbish, who can see the light and yearns to get out to the light but cannot.

Behind the color and motion of the dancers, a video, revealing the destruction in Haiti, will be projected onto a 25-foot screen. The performance's sound track features songs by composer Philip Glass. The music was selected for its tone of exultation and a heavy beat that "is the kind of music that wants you to go upward," says SantaBarbara.

In the first three acts, dancers wear brightly colored metallic outfits that reflect the light before changing into more subdued colors. The costuming and storyline reflect the theatrical quality and sophistication of Cirque du Soleil, SantaBarbara says.

After seeing the YouTube video of a young Haitian child, Kiki, being pulled from a building by firemen, SantaBarbara decided to end the performance with the image of the little boy as he stretches out his arms, his eyes wide with excitement after being rescued from a hole where he had been trapped for eight days.

SantaBarbara is arranging a Haiti benefit performance and would like to take the show to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.

Tickets cost $10, $8 for students, and are available at Music Coop and Le Cirque Centre. Call 541-301-6804.

Dancer and aerialist Shayne Carnahan performs an aerial split in the final scene of the show. - Photo courtesy of Tilt Dance The