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Avant Chamber Ballet Explores the Animal Kingdom This Weekend

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In 2012, Avant Chamber Ballet gavotted into Dallas promptly presenting more than a dozen world premiere ballets, as well as two regional premieres. The collaborative efforts of Artistic Director Katie Puder and Music Director David Cooper keeps the organization on its toes, pairing live chamber music with original choreography. With season three in full swing, the company presents an evening-length work this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday at the Eisemann Center, ACB will stage a triple bill of Puder's ballets. See re-stagings of her "Ravel Sonata" and "Exactly Woven," and the premiere of her reimagining of the "Carnival of Animals." "With this show, you will just see the resident dancers of ACB, and I'm proud that we can do such a strong show with no guest artists," says Puder.

"Ravel Sonata" is one of the first ballets that Puder created for ACB, and bringing it back just three years into their existence seems an odd move, but one that makes sense as they continue to build a repertoire of work. Sometimes you have to go back to where you started to see where you will go next.

"Exactly Woven" has been one of their more critically acclaimed works and one that they are currently taking to festivals. The three-movement piece uses geometric patterns to create a complex use of the space. But the highlight of the bill is the world premiere of Puder's "Carnival of Animals," a minimalistic piece, with no set, and simple costumes that merely hint at the animal the dancer portrays, leaving the burden on the artist to truly convey their character.

"This is a fun, new challenge for me and the dancers," says Puder. "The trick is choreographing for each animal so well, that even without costumes the elephant is clearly an elephant, and the aquarium of swimming fish."

And it was the fastest ballet of hers to come together. "Every day creating was like playing in the studio with the dancers. Lots of laughs went into choreographing this one," Puder continues.

Following in the mission to use live music, Avant Chamber Ballet will share the stage with five musicians, two pianists, two violinists, and a cellist.

"This is definitely a family-friendly show, but it appeals to all ages. I think this is a great show to introduce someone to ballet and dance too. It's fun and easy to appreciate but smart and adult enough that everyone will enjoy it," says Puder.

Avant Chamber Ballet presents "Carnival of Animals," at 8 p.m. October 11 and 3 p.m. October 12 at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. $17-$22.

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