directors

Dancers perform the "Red" number of a red, white and blue trio as part of the Director's Choice production at Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Photo by Bud Johnson for The Baltimore Sun (Bud Johnson / Baltimore Sun / November 12, 2008)

Ballet Theatre of Maryland concluded its 35th season — and artistic director Dianna Cuatto's 10th full season — with an eclectic Director's Choice program showcasing the versatility and strengths of dancers. Four of the five works in the ensemble were choreographed by Cuatto.

As staged by Amanda McKerrow, famed choreographer Antony Tudor's "Continuo" was a stunning outpouring of free movement, perfectly executed by the troupe.

Cuatto's patriotic salute, "American Ballads," presented a spirited Red dance to "The Star-Spangled Banner," a White dance to the lyrical "America the Beautiful" and a Blue dance to the soulful "Were You There?" that combined for a beautifully expressive whole.

Other piece included Cuatto's "Rites of Passage," a contemplative Native American celebration focusing on rituals that compose the journey of life; and "Vortex," another Cuatto piece celebrating Sedona, Ariz., spectacularly danced by a powerful troupe.

Another piece, "Interlude," featured a partnering of composer Meg Robinson's music performed by harpist Julia Frazier and danced to Cuatto's inspired choreography.

The artistic director's striking work reflected her own peak of power, making Director's Choice cause for true celebration at Ballet Theatre of Maryland.