Sitting in a crowd of hundreds, hypnotized by a group of raw individuals effortlessly twirling. Their arms move, like ribbons, and jump, like bubbles popping in the air, gently falling to the ground.

Verb Ballets is at it again, this time using its art to pay tribute to a man of passion on all fronts, Ian Horvath.

Dr. Margaret Carlson, director of Verb Ballets, worked with Horvath throughout her career. “He was a visionary for dance in America… he was friendly and loud with passion,” she says.

As the co-founder of Cleveland Ballet and a righteous AIDS activist, Horvath will be honored by a Verb Ballets performance on Feb. 10 at 2 pm at the Akron-Summit County Library. The company will perform two productions of Horvath’s creation: Laura’s Women and No Dominion.

The event will also premiere snippets of the new documentary based on Horvath’s impact in the world of dance, especially in Northeast Ohio. Nel Shelby and Margaret Mullin Productions have been working on No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story for more than three years.

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Carlson played a vital role in the production process as the producing rehearsal director. “I gave Mullin the permission to show the documentary, but I thought it was more important to display a live performance for the experience as well,” she says.

Lieneke Matte, a Verb Ballets dancer, performs in the documentary and in the live version of Laura’s Women.

“I hadn’t heard of Ian Horvath until I joined Verb. The more I learned about him and his work, the more shocked I became that he wasn’t widely recognized for his contributions to the dance community. His work is special in that it is still relevant and emotionally moving today.” says Matte.

Horvath created No Dominion for the Limon Dance Company in 1988. His muse was his illness.

Carlson says that Verb Ballets will be the “first to perform No Dominion since the Limon Dance Company in almost 30 years. Cleveland needs to directly experience this history.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to see truly moving works of dance. We can remember someone that played a major role in the foundation of Cleveland’s dance scene. I hope that the performance and documentary will bring more widespread acknowledgement of Cleveland as a hub for the arts, both during Ian Horvath’s time and today,” Matte says.

Emelia Sherin is an intern at The Devil Strip and a junior at Kent State University, where she studies public relations.

Photos used with permission from Verb Ballets.

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