Magazine article Dance Magazine

A New Name, a New Approach

Magazine article Dance Magazine

A New Name, a New Approach

Article excerpt

DM Chicago's Moose Project is undergoing a makeover. The nine, soon to be twelve, member contemporary ballet ensemble now performs as The Chicago Ballet, a name change that reflects ongoing plans to widen its artistic scope with full-length narrative works and ballets by guest choreographers.

"I've been waiting for an opportunity to expand the company," notes artistic director Paul Abrahamson, who is currently on the faculty of Lou Conte Dance Studio and has served as the program director for the School of Performing Arts in Naperville, Illinois. A former member of Joffrey Ballet Concert Group and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Abrahamson founded the Moose Project in Pittsburgh in the early 1990s as a single-vision contemporary ballet ensemble and transplanted it to his hometown five years ago. Although the company is a nonprofit organization and is one of Chicago's two professional ballet companies, "Moose implies something that can't be taken too seriously," says Abrahamson, whose nickname is Moose. "The contemporary troupe has been attracting enthusiastic, new audiences to the theater. I've had people tell me, 'I never knew I would like ballet, or that I could get involved in a dance concert.' Now in Year One as The Chicago Ballet, we have to let everyone know we're here and should be taken seriously. My short-term mission is to draw people with preconceived notions of what ballet is."

Abrahamson is target marketing social organizations, youth clubs, and senior citizens' groups as prospective audiences. "With a $25 adult ticket, we're providing an inexpensive entertainment alternative for those who wouldn't go to see a major ballet company," he says.

WHILE THE CHICAGO BALLET moniker was previously used by Ruth Page from 1974 to 1977, none of the late choreographer's ballets are in Abrahamson's repertoire, nor is there a version of The Nutcracker. …

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