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If you go
What: “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too”
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.
Admission: Free
Dancers perform at (and in) Freimann Square’s fountains in 2007’s edition of “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too.”

At the ballet’s ‘Too,’ expect the unexpected

Every summer for the last five years, former Fort Wayne Ballet student David Ingram has taken a break from the North Carolina Dance Theatre to return to town and shake ballet up a little.

In August, he will return for good.

“Fort Wayne Ballet, Too,” an annual blending of the traditional with the decidedly non-traditional, happens at 8 p.m. today at Arts United Center.

In the past, “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too” has taken place in a parking garage and in the fountains of Freimann Square.

This year, Ingram will use various locations in and around Arts United Center to update Stravinsky’s “Petrushka,” about a puppet that is brought to life during a Russian carnival.

The version Ingram will present with his collaborator, Jon Pritchard, will have elements of jazz and hip-hop dance, says the Fort Wayne Ballet’s executive director, Karen Gibbons-Brown.

If the weather cooperates, it will happen on the loading dock of Arts United Center, on stage (with viewers standing in the wings instead of sitting in the seats) and in the “circle of lights” in the Arts United Center plaza.

A dancer from North Carolina named Sam Shapiro also will be performing a solo from Edward Stierle’s “Lacrymosa,” a study of the journey toward death that very much paralleled Stierle’s decline from AIDS, Gibbons-Brown says.

“It’s amazing,” Gibbons-Brown says of Shapiro’s interpretation of the piece.

She has seen it done a couple of different times, she says, but never with Shapiro’s level of emotional and physical intensity.

“I have never seen such aloneness and brokenness,” Gibbons-Brown says.

Much of “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too” is created quickly in a series of marathon sessions, Gibbons-Brown says.

Ingram flies in a week before the event with some dancers from North Carolina, and they pull several all-nighters collaborating with students and professionals from the Fort Wayne Ballet.

Gibbons-Brown compares it to Jacob’s Pillow, the dance center and festival in the Berkshires.

She says this is an excellent experience for her dancers “because they don’t have the luxury of time, the luxury of space, or the luxury of what is pre-set,” she says.

In August, Gibbons-Brown says, Ingram and his wife will return to Fort Wayne so Ingram can take on the challenge of becoming the ballet’s “men’s division coordinator.”

Ingram says he is excited to be in charge of the boysprogram.

“When I was a young man, (ballet) really did so much for me,” he says.

“I latched onto it very quickly. It made me who I am today. There are so many opportunities for males in the field.”