Jazz, Sports and Comedy in Dance: Ballet Nebraska’s “Momentum” Comes to Joslyn Art Museum


March 31st, 2017

“Very technical and classical things”


“Lots and lots of jumping,”


“Falling on the floor and doing something really fun and funny,”

are all things to expect from Ballet Nebraska’s annual mixed repertory show, Momentum, showing Saturday, April 1 at the Joslyn Art Museum and April 8 at the Iowa Western Arts Center. Momentum is not just one dance, but several performances all in one evening.

Erika Overturff, artistic director of Ballet Nebraska, explained Momentum’s format.

“It features several different works in an exciting variety of styles,” Overturff said, “so we get to have a showcase for some classical work as well as some new work, stuff that’s in more contemporary style and also a very comedic piece as well, so it’s a great variety for the audience.

Momentum gives the audience and performers unique opportunities, Overturff said.

“We’ve found that it’s a great introduction to dance for people that maybe haven’t been before and aren’t sure what to expect, because it does have that variety,” Overturff explained. “Dance enthusiasts who have been many times also enjoy it because there is so much to see, and you get to see the dancer’s—really their versatility in the show.”

This year’s Momentum performance comprises six pieces; Overturff talked about some of the highlights. “Bournonville Divertissements,” was choreographed by August Bournenville and staged for Ballet Nebraska by former New York City principal dancer, Nilas Martins.

“While it’s very aerobic,” Overturff explained, “it’s also very charming and stylized, so it should look very easy when you’re watching it. So that has a nice connection as well with the Joslyn Art Museum—we always partner with them for our Momentum performances, and this work is being presented in celebration of their European collection.”

Overturff called one of the pieces, “Dance Sport,” by Harrison MacEldowney, a “comedic intersection” of both worlds—two kinds of athleticism that are not always imagined on the same stage.      

“[MacEldowney] had the idea to—I think he was watching the sporting event on T.V.—something like that and listening to the commentary, kind of like the Olympics where people are constantly talking, ‘oh she’s about to try this,’ and ‘oh look at that happen,’” Overturff said. “He thought wouldn’t that be funny if we did that to dance and kind of took some of those elements of dance and then combined it with some of those features from sports, like the commentators and the instant replays and things like that.”

Momentum will also feature “Ella,” a tribute to jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald choreographed by Overturff.

Momentum will show at the Joslyn Art Museum on Saturday, April 1, and at the Iowa Western Arts Center on April 8. For tickets to the Joslyn, go to ticketomaha.com. For more information, visit BalletNebraska.org.

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