After Its Delectable Opening Production, Balletmet’s 45th Anniversary Season Continues With Even More Delights

By Steve Sucato

Columbus, Ohio’s BalletMet began its 45th Anniversary season with BalletMet at the Ohio, a tribute to 10-year Artistic Director Edwaard Liang featuring two of his most engaging ballets, Murmuration and Tributary.

The production, September 16-18 at Downtown Columbus’ Ohio Theatre, showed Liang’s expert crafting of ballets both contemporary and classical.

Murmuration, a contemporary ballet originally created in 2012 for Houston Ballet, takes its inspiration from the phenomenon where starling birds en masse take to the skies to create breathtaking patterns of movement. BalletMet’s dancers marvelously did the same in Liang’s bit of choreographic genius to music by Ezio Bosso, which has every claim to be his signature ballet.

Liang’s Tributary is a ballet that featured a large cast of 47 dancers all in white from the company, BalletMet 2 and the BalletMet Academy Trainee Program. In the mold of Danish choreographer Harald Lander’s 1948 ballet Études, Liang’s Tributary, was an uplifting highlight reel of ballet at its finest. Danced to music by Jean Sibelius and Knudåge Riisager, and dense with moments for the cast to shine in everything from solos to groups sections, if you were to offer up just one ballet to exemplify the breadth and beauty that is ballet, this would be in the running.

While a high bar was set with the opening production of the company’s 2022-2023 Anniversary Season, there’s much more stellar dance to look forward to. Here is a brief look:

BalletMet’s David Ward and Caitlin Valentine in Dracula. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda.

October 28-November 5, 2022
Davidson Theatre, Columbus, OH

Returning just in time for Halloween is former BalletMet Artistic Director David Nixon’s vampire ballet was inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. Premiered by the company in 1999, Dracula is set to music by composers Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Michael Daugherty, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Says Liang, some of the sets and costumes have been refurbished for this long-awaited revival.

(center) Jessica Brown and BalletMet dancers in The Nutcracker. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda.

December 8-24, 2022
Ohio Theatre, Columbus, OH

Choreographed to another former BalletMet Artistic Director, Gerald Charles’s beloved The Nutcracker rings in the holiday season with 18 shows. Set to Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, the Columbus favorite will feature the full company, BalletMet 2, and academy students of all ages.

BalletMet dancers in Dorothy and The Prince of Oz. Photo by JenniferZmuda.

February 10-12, 2023
Ohio Theatre, Columbus, OH

For those who missed it the first time round or want to see it again, Liang’s ballet follows a different tale of Dorothy Gale in the land of Oz that is apart from what was covered in the 1939 motion picture classic. Originally created for Tulsa Ballet in 2017, in this family-friendly production the Land of Oz is in danger, and only Dorothy can return and help restore peace to this magical world. With help from her friend Scarecrow, she braves a dangerous journey to save the Prince and reunite the kingdom, finding love along the way. The production also features music by Oliver Peter Graber and life-size puppetry and scenery by Broadway’s Basil Twist.

Photo by Jennifer Zmuda.

March 10-18, 2023
Davidson Theatre, Columbus, OH

A triple bill of premieres by choreographers Dana Genshaft, a former dancer with San Francisco Ballet, former dancer and Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet, Amy Seiwert, and BalletMet company member Leiland Charles. Audiences may recall Charles’s 2021 gem Figurines, a standout in BalletMet’s pandemic-restricted offerings.

Photo by Jennifer Zmuda.

April 28-30, 2023
Ohio Theatre, Columbus, OH

For the first time in recent memory, the company will take on the most iconic of story ballets Swan Lake, without teaming up with Cincinnati Ballet. Liang’s production, set to another of Tchaikovsky’s most well-known scores, is sure to be a memorable one.

For more information including casting, synopsis, health and safety protocols, and tickets visit


The company increased its numbers from 23 to 26 this season. New dancers include Cooper Verona and Victoria Watford who came over from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, former Hamburg Ballet dancer Miguel Wansing Lorrio, former City Ballet of San Diego dancer Erica Alvarado, Pittsburgh native Andrew Rossi, former Texas Ballet Theater dancer Beñat Andueza Molina, multiple ballet competition award-winner Matoi Kawamoto from Tokyo, and Iris R. Dávila, who was promoted from BalletMet 2.

Not returning this season are dancers Kristie Latham and Jim Nowakowski, who both retired, and Carly Wheaton who is now with Oregon Ballet Theatre. Also, temporarily on sabbatical is Lisset Santander.

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