This 100th birthday party features six dancers, four pieces and classic Leonard Bernstein tunes.
Contemporary dance company Keigwin + Company will join the worldwide "Bernstein at 100" celebration of the famous composer and conductor's centennial. The New York City-based group will bring "K+C Celebrate Bernstein" to Shockley-Zalabak Theater at Ent Center for the Arts on Saturday.
"He was not just an important composer, but he was a world-renowned conductor," said Larry Keigwin, artistic director, choreographer and founder of Keigwin + Company.
"He had incredible musicianship and was extraordinarily talented. The breadth of the work he composed is so wide. He had such an influence across disciplines. He was influential in dance, Broadway and classical music."
The hourlong performance will feature pieces set to music composed by Bernstein between 1937 and 1945. On the program will be two bigger pieces: "Episodes" set to Bernstein's "On the Town Suite" and "Waterfront" to "On the Waterfront Suite." Keigwin rounds off the evening with two smaller works: "Three Plus One" to "Piano Trio" and "Sonata" to "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano."
Keigwin compares the influence and sound of Bernstein with that of composer Aaron Copland, whose 1944 ballet "Appalachian Spring" earned a Pulitzer Prize.
"He sounds like the West and the great frontier," Keigwin said. "(Bernstein's) 'West Side Story' is an American story. 'On the Town' is the story of sailors coming to New York City. It's a sweeping melodic sound that we can identify with America, especially in the mid-century."
The company, founded in 2003, is theatrical, engaging and accessible to audiences, Keigwin said.
"(Keigwin) bridges dance worlds, contrasting the light efficiency of ballet with the earthiness of modern dance," said The New York Times.