Indianapolis Ballet - Love is in the Air

I had the pleasure of photographing Indianapolis Ballet’s Love is in the Air at Newfields on Valentines weekend. As always, it was thrilling.

Paquita Grand Pas Classique

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Choreography: Maurius Petipa; staged by Victoria Lyras & Paul Vitali

Love is … soft and exhilarating

Originally choreographed as a full-length ballet in 1846 for Paris Opera Ballet, the story was set in Spain during the presence of Napoleon’s army.  Paquita, a young gypsy girl, meets and falls in love with a French officer, Lucien d’Hervilly.  A Spanish governor, however, wants Lucien killed and engages the gypsy king Iñigo to do the deed.  Paquita saves Lucien’s life, but despite their love they cannot marry due to their stations in life – that is until it is discovered through her possession of a medallion that she is actually of noble birth.  The celebration of their love culminates in Act II, and it is from this suite of dances that Grand Pas Classique was created as a separate ballet that since 1902 has been performed by ballet companies worldwide. The Indianapolis Ballet version of Act II also includes the Pas de Trois, which is traditionally presented in Act I of the full-length production.

The Hunt

Music: Danny Elfman

Choreographer: Scott Jovovich

Love is … worth fighting for

Featuring music from Danny Elfman’s soundtrack from the 2001 version of the film Planet of the Apes, ballet and Broadway legend Scott Jovovich’s repertoire showcases the artistry and athleticism of the IB company dancers. According to Jovovich, who staged the ballet on the company during a weeklong visit to the IB studios in January, “the piece was inspired by the challenges dancers face every day. Every day in a dancer’s life is a ritualistic battle between what one believes they are capable of and what they, passionately, would like to achieve. In a very real way we all, as dancers, have a ‘love affair’ with pushing past our limits. The Hunt describes the search for those challenges.”

Dance of the Hours

Music: Amilcare Ponchielli

Choreography: Victoria Lyras

Love is … the joy of movement in us all

Dance of the Hours was first introduced as a short ballet in the third act of the opera La Giaconda. Later, it was often performed outside the context of the opera and became a well-known ballet in its own right.  In the 1940s, the music reached millions when it was danced by animated hippos, alligators, elephants, and ostriches in the Walt Disney film Fantasia. The Dance of the Hours choreographed in 2008 by Victoria Lyras was created to showcase the talents of the Indianapolis School of Ballet’s students and has had more than 370K views on YouTube.


Music: Georges Bizet

Choreography: Victoria Lyras

Love is … fickle and extreme

Based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée, Bizet wrote his most brilliant and famous opera. The story takes place in southern Spain and tells the fate of a soldier, Don José, who is seduced by the fiery gypsy Carmen. As a result of Carmen’s wiles, José naïvely deserts his childhood sweetheart and his military duties but loses Carmen’s love to the matador Escamillo.  Consumed by jealously and rage at her rejection, Don José kills Carmen. Inspired by the passionate music, Ms. Lyras has opted to visualize the opera without words through the dramatic and expressive art of classical ballet.

notes courtesy of IB Ballet Master Paul Vitali & IB Founding Artistic Director Victoria Lyras

Sonja Clark