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Opinion: Rioult Company dances their way to 20 years on the Ford Center stage

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Rioult Dance Company, celebrating 20 years, is based out of New York and travels internationally performing the exquisite works of Pascal Rioult.

Pascal, the founder of the company, puts his energy into developing his unique choreographic style and having his ensemble of dancers illustrate his work.

With a stunning coalition of dances that incorporate water colored backgrounds, sounds from nature, and simplistic costumes, the use of visual and audio elements sent the audience into a trance.

“The water colored backgrounds oozed different colors, while you heard the sounds of rain, crickets, etc.,” said Brittany Murphree. “The dancers were so delicate, but sharp with their movements. It felt like I was dreaming.”

The dance performance involved nine different performances. Each was separate from the rest involving different costumes and technique, however, each performance was connected with a fading background and sounds of rain.

The dancers collaborate with Pascal to create each of the sensual, but articulate performances. The show is very impressive and shows a modern, lyrical spin on classic ballet techniques.

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A couple using the mirroring technique.

The dancers incorporated a variety of techniques throughout the performance. Some included:

  • Ballón: 
The quality of lightness, ease in jumping.
  • Entrechat: A dancer jumps into the air and quickly crosses the legs in front and behind. While in the air, the dancer beats her right thigh on the back and front of her left thigh before landing.
  • Grand Battement: 
A large, swift leg kick with the knee extended and foot pointed.
  • Mirroring: when two dancers movements are in sync.
  • Pas de chat: A sideways jump; legs form a diamond shape while in the air
  • Promenade: 
A slow pivot of the body while standing on one leg
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    “I’m from South Korea, so the dance style is very different back home,” said said Jenny Le, a sophomore at Ole Miss. “However, the stage set up and dance technique are very similar. The dancers both here and at home are lean and have strong muscles to be able to control and contort their bodies.”

Each dance piece incorporated anywhere between all 14 dancers to just two of them. A typical dance company as successful as Rioult, involves around 40-50 people.

Rioult is extraordinary for an organization of this size. The company and its dancers are very dedicated to each other. Rioult provides health insurance, training classes, teaching opportunities, and challenging repertory to please its dancers. The dancers in turn provide community outreach.

The company’s program, DanceREACH, offers interactive lessons to introduce students to the world of dance. The program has relationships in NYC and the metropolitan area. Rioult works to continually inspire new generations of dancers and audiences.

After the standing ovation Rioult Dance Company was given at the Ford Center, it is confirmed that they inspired this particular audience. This was Rioult’s first visit to the Ford Center, and according to audience members, hopefully not their last.

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An example of the lyrical spin Rioult put on their ballet performance.

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