REVIEW: Verb Ballets Celebrates the Life & Legacy of Ian Horvath

(Front to Rear) Kelly Korfhage, Christina Lindhout and Lieneke Matte in Ian Horvath’s Laura’s Women. Photo by Bill Naiman

Verb Ballets – Dance Legacy: Celebrating the Life of Ian Horvath
The Breen Center for the Performing Arts
Cleveland, Ohio

February 9, 2019

Reviewed by Steve Sucato

It’s been nearly three decades since former Cleveland Ballet (predecessor company to the current Cleveland Ballet) co-founder Ian “Ernie” Horvath (1943-1990) lost his battle with AIDS at age 46. The life and career of this Cleveland native who danced with Joffrey Ballet, was chairman of Dance/USA, and was a pioneering advocate for those with AIDS, was honored in Cleveland-based Verb Ballets’ program, Dance Legacy: Celebrating the Life of Ian Horvath. 

The performance featured three dance works, including arguably Horvath’s two best creations, along with excerpts from the upcoming Nel Shelby Productions documentary No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story.

The program began with a trailer for the documentary that introduced Horvath to those in the audience unfamiliar with him. It also briefly described the evening’s opening dance, Horvath’s “Laura’s Women” (1974).  His earliest and most celebrated work, “Laura’s Women” was inspired by, and set to three songs by, late American singer/songwriter Laura Nyro (1947-1997). The modern dance trio about three differing personalities contained in one woman with a self-destructive past was staged by Verb’s artistic director Dr. Margaret Carlson, a former Cleveland Ballet dancer under Horvath.

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