Sneak peak of story ballet to debut at Oriental Institute

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Choreographer Ron De Jesus’ new story ballet, “Osiris and Isis,” will be showcased at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago will present 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.

The performance, a one night only event, will take place Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Yelda Khorsabad Court of the Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St. in Hyde Park.

Inspired by the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris, the god who was murdered by his brother, Seth, and resurrected by his loving wife, Isis, De Jesus’ piece will be performed by dancers surrounded by ancient Middle Eastern artifacts, including a 16-foot-tall, 40-ton sculpture of a lamassu (a 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 will showcase three scenes from this new work, which spins one of the oldest and most intense love stories. The work will have its full premiere at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2015.

Live music composed and performed by James Falzone will accompany the performance, and between each scene, University of Chicago students will read excerpts from ancient Egyptian texts about the Osiris myth.

The preview performance of “Osiris and Isis” will be 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,” is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and will take place in the Oriental Institute’s Breasted Hall. Admission to the lecture is free, but advanced registration is required either by phone (773) 702-9507 or at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lecture-a-game-of-thrones-and-coffinsthe-death-and-resurrection-of-osiris-tickets-12711094225.

Tickets to “Osiris and Isis” preview performance are $15 for museum members, students, UChicago faculty and staff, and $25 for non-members. Call (773) 702-9507 or visit https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1526958. A reception follows the performance, included in the ticket price.

Ron De Jesús is an internationally recognized dancer and choreographer who spent 17 years as a leading dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, performed in the original cast of the Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel musical “Movin’ Out,” and was part of the creative team of Tharp’s original production of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly Away” on Broadway.

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