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Eugene Ballet preview: Dancing Gatsby

Company and OrchestraNext premiere original works set to music of Marsalis and Grieg

by GARY FERRINGTON

When Eugene Ballet Artistic Director Toni Pimble decided to stage a dance version of The Great Gatsby, she didn’t realize just how challenging it would be. First, she had to replace the version she’d hoped to stage with a new one she had to create from scratch. Then she had to find music that both summoned the Jazz Age setting of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel and worked with 21st century choreography and audiences. Then she had to figure out how to avoid asphyxiating her audience.

The Great Gatsby. Photo: Eugene Ballet.

Beth Maslinoff, Mitch Gill, Danielle Tolmie, Mark Tucker, Victoria Harvey appear in ‘The Great Gatsby.’ Photo: Eugene Ballet.

When Gatsby opens April 9, it will have original choreography by Pimble herself, a score by of Wynton Marsalis (performed by OrchestraNext, Brian McWhorter conducting) that was written for an entirely different show, and a spiffy new set that doesn’t poison the air in Eugene’s Hult Center.

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