Back to Top

Building connections one dance at a time: How NYC-based dance company Ballets with a Twist builds connections in "Cocktail Hour: The Show"

A promotional poster for

A promotional poster for "Cocktail Hour: The Show." (photo/Ballets with a Twist)

Dance is more than simple body movements with the assistance of dynamic music. It’s a connection. It moves people, and this movement is an extension of one’s breath. To Marilyn Klaus, artistic director of the New York City-based dance company Ballets with a Twist, ballet is the ultimate extension.

My goal is to get everybody back into the theatre,” she said during a personal interview.

This goal is to be accomplished when the ballet company travels to Ohio Northern University for a week of dance and a performance of special dance numbers in Cocktail Hour: The Show on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. inside the Freed Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets are $5 for ONU students and can be purchased at the Freed Center’s box office, or here.

The show reinvents the glamour and excitement of classic ballet entertainment with an original mix of choreography carefully crafted by Klaus. This pop-infused performing arts spectacle combines the magic of Hollywood’s Golden Age with a modernized spirit of the 21st-century. Each dance captures the timeless American spirit in a unique series of vignettes.


Because the show is titled Cocktail Hour, it’s not surprising each dance number is named after a classic drink.

Program highlights include:

  • “Manhattan” – A dance featuring a socialite stepping out into the big streets of Manhattan with her dog. As they stroll past streetlights on Park Avenue, a jazz trumpet echoes their dance movements.
  • “Martini” – A blonde bombshell super-spy manages to dodge sharp-shooters in a dangerous dance while wearing a tutu mirroring the image of a martini glass.
  • “Roy Rogers” – A rodeo woman encloses her leading man in this dance number honoring the classic Wild West.
  • “Sputnik” – A dance in homage to America’s space race of the 1960s.

Each dance is a different story that comes from the movement of our dancers,” Klaus remarked about the dance repertoire in her show.

As for Morgan Stinnett, a member of the dance ensemble in the production, dance embodies characters.

I look to my audience and embody my characters. This draws them into the story, and that’s a very cool thing to do,” he remarked.

I hope to instill a mirror so the audience can see themselves on the stage. Dance is moving people, and this movement is an extension of our breaths. Ballet is the ultimate extension. We go all the way,” Klaus adds.

A special quality to Cocktail Hour: The Show is that Klaus is previewing a piece at ONU that has never been performed in front of a live audience. Judging from audience reaction, Klaus will determine how this number, titled Grappa, will perform with future audiences.

ONU dance students will participate in the opening of the performance, showcasing their dance skills to the Ada community.

Ballets with a Twist is already in Ada, Ohio, as the company visits ONU students in a week-long residency program. On Saturday, ONU offers the “Day of Dance,” a day of workshops intended to engage students in the art of dance.

Laurie Bell, ONU Department of Theatre Arts Chair, said, “The Day of Dance consists of a workshop and classes for high-school dancers. There is a fee for the workshop.”

Everyone relates to dance every day. We explore the human body through movement. Dance explores the physical forces of gravity. I want students to get a sense of the rigor style of dance," Klaus adds. 

Stinnett, originally from Akron, Ohio, began dancing when he was six years old. His passion and love for dancing keeps growing with each performance. He hopes to bring joy to ONU students, and to teach them that dance is a wonderful performance.

I love the structure of dance. You never have to be perfect because you’re always learning. There’s always something to work toward,” he adds.

Klaus concludes, “Dance makes you humble. It’s [dance] a fast-moving culture. Our performance is going to be fresh and exciting.  I’m really looking forward to the performance, but also inspiring the next generation of dancers.” 

Promoted on slideshow: 

Follow us on social media




Northern Review Story Submission Form

Interested in submitting an article for publication on the Northern Review website? Go ahead and fill out this form! Once submitted, a student editor will review your article for publication.

Northern Review Story Submission Form