Verb Ballets will honor the 90th anniversary of the birth of celebrated choreographer Heinz Poll, founder of Ohio Ballet, with an evening-length concert of his work at the Akron Civic Theatre Feb. 19.
Verb Ballets will select from the panorama of Heinz Poll’s work to present an evening-length concert celebrating the diversity of his choreographic style, and honoring his enduring legacy in Northeast Ohio and the dance world. The program will include the revival of full company classics “Elegiac Song,” “Songs Without Words” and “Bolero.” This performance is support by the generosity of The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, Akron Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund for Dance in Summit County of Akron Community Foundation.
Verb Ballets is honored to conduct a residency in February of 2016 for the Dance Department at The University of Akron, the original home of Ohio Ballet. Verb Ballets will work to incorporate University of Akron dance students and community dancers into Poll’s larger company works. The company will be in residence during the week of the show that will culminate with the Feb. 19 performance.
Verb Ballets has a long history of performing Poll’s work and strong artistic and personal ties to Akron— including Verb Ballets’ Associate Director Richard Dickinson, who danced with Ohio Ballet under Poll’s Direction and eventually served as Poll’s ballet master. Dr. Margaret Carlson was part of the original student group gathered together to study from Poll when the company was founded, and she was on the committee that worked to found the dance festival in his name. Verb Ballets is the repository of a number of Poll’s choreographic works.
Born in Germany in 1926, Poll trained at the famed Folkwang School, drawing on skills he developed in childhood as a competitive ice skater. He performed with German companies, but joined the National Ballet of Chile after World War II.
He spent two years with a French ballet company before coming to the United States in 1961. An invitation to teach in Akron led to the founding of the Chamber Ballet, an eight-member student company that developed into Ohio Ballet. In over 30 years as director, Poll choreographed more than 60 works for Ohio Ballet, from “Eight by Benny Goodman,” an exuberant big-band piece that combines ballet and ballroom dancing into a single artistic expression to “Songs Without Words,” a Holocaust ballet set to the Mendelssohn score.
Writing for The New York Times in 1981, Anna Kisselgoff described Poll as “a ballet choreographer with a modern-dance sensibility.” He was awarded the Association of Ohio Dance Companies Award in 1983, the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1995 and the Ohio Arts Council’s Governor’s Award in 1999. At Poll’s death in 2006, his estate stipulated that 10 of his most exceptional works be maintained as his artistic legacy.
Single tickets are $32 Preferred, $27 Center, $22 Side Admission or $12 Students. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Akron Civic Box Office at (330) 253-2488 or online at akroncivic.com. The Akron Civic Theatre is located at 182 S. Main St. in downtown Akron. For more information visit www.verbballets.org.