Ballet INitiative to debut world premiere


By Chris Bavender

Ballet INitiative will present a world premiere performance of “INdy” at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Tobias Theatre at Newfields in Indianapolis. There will be only one performance. The show is a collaboration of local composers, choreographers, dance companies, visual artists, and photographers to create a dance show showcasing the Indianapolis arts community.

“We wanted to have a performance celebrating the local Indianapolis arts community that has supported us ever since we started back in August 2020,” said Ola Tarnowski, marketing and public relations director for Ballet INitiative. “There was no better way in our eyes to do so other than giving the arts community complete artistic free range in a performance. We told our choreographers and composers they could create anything that inspires them, and us and our dancers will bring their ideas to life.

“Along the way, we felt it would be even better to include as many local artists of all different medias, (such as) musicians, visual artists, photographers, other dance companies, to create an entire community of artists in one performance.”

Tarnowski said it’s important to Ballet INitiative to highlight the local community.

“One of our biggest pillars of our mission is collaboration and innovation in dance, an art form that is typically very strict in its exclusion and elitism,” she said. “Our inclusion and break from tradition not only creates a healthy, modernized environment for our artists to work and create openly, but creates a never-before-seen performance for our audiences.”

Because the group wanted the artists to create anything that “inspired and spoke to them,” the show doesn’t have a theme.

“A lot of the pieces do have a love or relationship theme with the performance falling on Valentine’s Day weekend,” Tarnowski said. “The theme was more about celebrating the arts community other than a theme throughout the pieces themselves. The show is comprised of 11 individual pieces, all with their own themes and concepts.”

Audiences can expect the usual Ballet INitiative feature of taking classic and traditional dance and putting their own updated interpretations on them.

“They’ll see all different styles of dance, from ballet and jazz to modern and contemporary,” Tarnowski said. “Along with our dancing, they’ll also see never-before-performed, brand new pieces created just for us, and (have) the ability to hear and see all different kinds of art in just one show — the art, the brand-new music compositions, the photography.

“Lastly, they’ll see our deep connection with each other and the love we have for not only our art form, but the art of the city we are so proud to call home.”

The performance will be Ballet INitiative’s debut at the Tobias Theatre.

“This is our first performance in a large-scale theater as an organization,” Tarnowski said. “As we’ve grown in interest and support in the last 18 months, we are filled with hope as we enter the larger-performance scene of Indianapolis. We’re so proud and excited of all our artists’ hard work.

“We want them to have one incredible performance opportunity with an audience.”

Tickets can be purchased at For more, visit


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