This & That

Charleston Ballet Theatre
Choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr

'Decadent Divas' a dazzling success
By Carol Furtwangler, Post and Courier Reviewer
Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Charleston Ballet Theatre scored a huge success with "Decadent Divas," combining Jill Eathorne Bahr's thrilling choreography for an ensemble of vibrant dancers with Mary Porter's couture costumes and Steve Lepre's imaginative video images.

Opening Friday at CBT's Black Box Theatre, this world premiere drew a sold-out crowd that celebrated with champagne and applause.

The big band era of the '40s and '50s returned to life with Melody Staples dancing to Peggy Lee, and Jennifer Balcerzak Muller, in ruby red shoes, to Judy Garland, backed by a spiffy contingent of lovely young men who ably supported the ladies.

Andrea DeVries danced Barbra Streisand flying high. Jennifer Altman's Nina Simone recalled the singer's popularity, while the male company set the scene for "Walking in Memphis" with Melian Izatova as flashy as Cher.

Elizabeth Halajian turned the place upside down as Tina Turner in "Proud Mary," with Peter Swan as Ike. Erin Simons-Brown kept it going on as Gloria Estefan. Prizes for max energy also go to Ashley Lazenby as Mariah Carey and Melissa Weber as Madonna.

The most touching number was a dignified Bridget Halloran (Whitney Houston) watching Staples and Alexander Collen.

CBT got it just right, and in grand style.

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