From a Southwind press release: Complex percussion and folk rhythms serve as the cohesive element in Southwind's 2003 production, "Dance Portraits." This show uses the romantic and dramatic music of the renowned "Gayne Ballet" by Aram Khachaturian, one of the leading Soviet composers of the 20th century. The ballet, a musical and choreographic poem about the young people of Soviet Armenia, incorporates complex human emotions and the clashing of such strong feelings as love, jealousy, and friendship. A portrait of the ballet's main character, the strong peasant woman named Gayne, is drawn through the music and movement of the show, while vibrant harvest colors remind the viewer of the peoples' strong ties to the land and their dependence on each other for survival. As the show first begins, the careful listener will catch hints of the ballet's most famous selection, "Sabre Dance," though neither it, nor the fiery "Lezghinka" are ever completely stated. Instead, folk tunes and lush romantic melodies from the score weave a portrait of Gayne, her struggles, and her triumphs. In the first portrait, "Life," the rhythmic heartbeat of the percussion combines with the music and visual to emphasize the work, struggle, and yet joyful enthusiasm, which make up Gayne's daily life. Portrait two, "Love," depicts the romantic love Gayne feels for Armen, as well as her love for those in her community. The percussive drive of the drum line once again comes front and center in the final portrait, "Loyalty." The rhythmic pulse of life emanates in the Armenian folk dances that the peasants perform as they gather at many important times of the year, used in the score to depict the loyalty Gayne feels for her country, community and heritage. Khachaturian's masterful work combines colorful writing, traditional folk music, and innovation to create its distinctive sound. Southwind uses these same elements of color and innovation to create their living portrait of Gayne, one of the most famous characters in Russian folklore.
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