(Editor's note: The following is a press release from the City of Akron.)
Continuing Akron's unique 37 year tradition of presenting free dance performances in the parks during the summer, The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival has been established to honor the legacy of the legendary founding Artistic Director of Ohio Ballet. Free public performances by respected Ohio dance companies, each presenting a unique dance experience, reflect the common thread of Poll's commitment to the highest artistic standards.
In 2012, the City will sponsor four consecutive weekends of ballet featuring four professional dance companies: Neos Dance Theatre, The Martha Graham Dance Company, the GroundWorks Dancetheater, and Cincinnati Ballet.
Since the 2006 demise of Ohio Ballet's Summer Festival - supported by the City of Akron since 1975 - there was no ready outlet for dance in Akron, Ohio. The community enjoyed performances by touring companies at Akron Civic Theatre and E. J. Thomas Hall, and the annual Fall performance at the Northside Ice House by GroundWorks Dancetheater. Youth ballet performances by the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet and Children's Ballet Theater also made dance available to local audiences.
The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival has expanded the offerings so that there are now 16 to 18 separate ballets offered each summer. IMAGE: Ballet DancerAttendance averages 10,000 per season.
The schedule for 2012:
Neos Dance Theatre: July 27 - 28, Hardesty Park
Martha Graham Dance Company: Aug. 3 - 4 Goodyear, Metropolitan Park
Groundworks Dancetheater: Aug. 10 - 11, Glendale Cemetery
Cincinnati Ballet: Aug. 17 - 18 Firestone Park
Dance Stage to be Shared With Akron Symphony on Sundays
The City of Akron, with support from local foundations, will extend the use of its weekend dance stage to Sunday nights again this summer for a series of four concerts by the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Performances under the direction of Christopher Wilkins will be:
July 29 Hardesty Park
Aug. 5 Goodyear Metropolitan Park
Aug. 12 Glendale Cemetery
Aug. 19 Firestone Park
The summer program of concert music will include music of John Phillip Souse, George Gershwin, Broadway show tunes, and movie themes of John Williams. All Sunday Symphonies began at 7:30 pm. Admission is free.
Initiated by Mayor Don Plusquellic, the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival started in 2007 in response to the demise of Ohio Ballet, which gave its final performance August 6, 2006 at Goodyear Metropolitan Park. A committee of dance and education professionals together with local foundations was convened by the Mayor, and examined options for continuing free outdoor summer performances, which date to 1975 and are unique to Akron among American cities.
The German-born Heinz Poll came to Akron in 1967 and offered classes to promising students. In 1974, with lighting designer Thomas Skelton, he founded Akron's first professional company, which eventually became Ohio Ballet. Poll died in April, 2006. His works are included in the summer repertoire.