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Cincinnati Ballet presents Frampton and Cincinnati Ballet Live, with classic rock guitarist Peter Frampton, this April. It seems like an unlikely pairing. But the ballet company and the rock star aren’t as odd a couple as you might think.
Frampton—best known for hits like “Show Me the Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way”—is British, but he’s lived in Cincinnati since 2000.“He’s a longtime resident with a great affection for the city,” says Cincinnati Ballet director Victoria Morgan, who has been pursuing a collaboration with Frampton for several years. Once she was finally able to connect with the guitarist last year, thanks to a Cincinnati Ballet fan who’s a friend of Frampton’s, things quickly picked up steam.
“He came to the studio to watch a rehearsal, and I think he was surprised and impressed by the high caliber and discipline of these beautiful dancers,” Morgan says. “Right away, he said, ‘I really want to do it—though the thought of it makes me nervous.’ I thought that was pretty cool, that we made Peter Frampton nervous!”
Frampton will play live at each performance of the program, which features three world premieres. Devon Carney and Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard will create ballets set to classic Frampton songs, while resident choreographer Adam Houghland will work with a brand-new Frampton piece composed for the occasion. “The idea is to connect to a very different type of ballet audience,” Morgan says. “I like being able to show our versatility in a way that makes people say, ‘Oh wait a minute—I thought you were a ballet company?’”