On October 17, 2014, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago presented a preview showing of a new story-ballet inspired by the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris. Before the private ballet performance, a public lecture was presented by Dr. Robert K. Ritner, a world-renowned expert on Egyptian religion and mythology. In his lecture, Dr. Ritner explained in fascinating detail the myth of Osiris, the god who was murdered and dismembered by his brother, Seth, and resurrected by his loving wife Isis. Dr. Ritner’s lecture can be viewed on The Oriental Institute’s YouTube.
Choreographed by internationally known Ron De Jesus, and performed by his dance company, Ron De Jesus Dance, three dancers portrayed Osiris, Seth, and Isis in three acts, amid ancient Middle Eastern artifacts on display at The Oriental Institute. The venue was the perfect backdrop for the ballet.
Scene One of the ballet presented the god Osiris, the symbol of regeneration and eternal life after death. Benjamin Wardell danced the role of Osiris, powerfully expressing the god’s strength and connection to the rhythms of nature. Scene Two portrayed Seth’s hatred for his brother, and Seth’s murder and dismemberment of Osiris. Jamy Meek’s performance as Seth was riveting as his dancing clearly conveyed his envy and hatred of his brother. Scene Three was a sensual and gifted dance by Shauna Zambelli, as Isis, and Benjamin Wardell as Osiris. Their emotional dance demonstrated their eternal love through a series of embraces that was spell-binding.
Choreographer Ron De Jesus’ talent to transform an ancient myth to a story-ballet is extraordinary. Through his choreography, the dancers expressed the quality of strength, and emotions of love, hatred, and devotion.
The full 90 minute ballet, Osiris and Isis, will next be performed on October 17, 2015, at the Reva and David Logan Center of Arts, in Chicago, Illinois.
The Silverman Group, Inc.
Ron De Jesús Dance and uChicago’s Oriental institute
Present Preview of New Ballet
Osiris and Isis
Three scenes presented amidst the Oriental Institute’s Middle Eastern artifacts, preceded by free lecture by leading Egyptologist
At the Oriental Institute
One night only: October 17
CHICAGO (September 17, 2014) – The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago presents a preview showing of Osiris and Isis, a new evening-length story-ballet choreographed by Chicagoan Ron De Jesús and performed by his namesake company, Ron De Jesús Dance, inspired by the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris, the god who was murdered by his brother, Seth, and resurrected by his loving wife, Isis. The preview is presented one night only in the Yelda Khorsabad Court of the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th Street in Hyde Park, Friday, October 17 at 7 pm.
Surrounded by ancient Middle Eastern artifacts, including a 16-foot-tall, 40-ton sculpture of a lamassu (human-headed winged bull) flanked by 10-foot tall stone reliefs from the palace of the Assyrian King Sargon II, three dancers portraying Osiris, Isis and Seth dance three scenes from De Jesús’ new work about one of the oldest and strongest love stories, which will have its full premiere at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2015. Live music composed and performed by James Falzone accompanies the performance and in between each scene, University of Chicago students read excerpts from ancient Egyptian texts about the Osiris myth. This program is generously funded by University of Chicago Arts Council, the Illinois Humanities Council, and James and Trudene Westerman.
The preview performance of Osiris and Isis is preceded by a free public lecture by Robert K. Ritner, professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute. Dr. Ritner, a world-renowned expert on Egyptian religion and mythology, will focus on the enduring power and appeal of this god of the Egyptian pantheon. The lecture, titled “A Game of Thrones and Coffins: The Death and Resurrection of Osiris,” takes place in the Oriental Institute’s Breasted Hall, 5:30-6:30 pm. Admission to the lecture is free, but advanced registration is required either by phone at 773-702-9507 or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lecture-a-game-of-thrones-and-coffinsthe-death-and-resurrection-of-osiris-tickets-12711094225.
Tickets for the Osiris and Isis preview performance are $15 for museum members, students, UChicago faculty and staff, and $25 for non-members. Tickets are available by phone at 773-702-9507 or online at https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1526958. A reception follows the performance, included in the ticket price.
About the Choreographer
Ron De Jesús is an internationally recognized dancer and choreographer. His talents have taken him through 17 years as a leading dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to choreographing works on many award-winning performers and companies. He performed in the original cast of Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel’s musical Movin’ Out and was part of the creative team of Tharp’s original production of Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly Away on Broadway. He has also performed with widely respected professional dance companies including Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre, Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre and the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble. As a choreographer, De Jesús has created work for StaatsBallet Berlin, NBA Ballet Japan, Washington Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BalletMet Columbus, Alabama Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago and others. Learn more at www.rondejesusdance.org.
About the Oriental Institute
The Oriental Institute was founded in 1919 by James Henry Breasted with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller Jr., and was originally envisaged as a research laboratory for the investigation of the early human career that would trace humankind’s progress from the most ancient days of the Middle East. The goal of the Oriental Institute is to be the world’s leading center for the study of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations by combining innovation in theory, methodology and significant empirical discovery with the highest standards of rigorous scholarship. The Oriental Institute Museum was opened to the public in 1931. The majority of the collections of the Oriental Institute came from its expeditions in the Middle East during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. A major reinstallation of the Museum, including the construction of a climate-controlled wing for housing collections and archives, took place in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Oriental Institute is a unit within the University of Chicago. Learn more at https://oi.uchicago.edu.
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