One day three years ago, Sun King owners Dave Colt and Clay Robinson were chatting with Rita Kohn from NUVO about their beer and the Indy arts scene. Robinson’s wife’s ballet background sparked the idea of a partnership with the Ballet Theatre of Indiana. Soon after, Beer & Ballet became its love child, and is now an annual Valentine’s Day staple.
Three of Sun King’s house brews are served before and during the event, though it’s still an all-ages show. Beer & Ballet III breaks up the dancing with more pauses than a typical ballet. “It helps the audience relax and enjoy the show more, since they can talk about what they saw or grab another beer,” says BTI’s artistic director, Stirling Matheson. The cabaret-style event’s casual setting invites both people new to the ballet and old pros.
BTI’s program includes lot of unique performances, just like Sun King’s brews. To help you out, we paired some of the dances with a beer that will serve as a perfect complement.
Act I: Conscious Abstractions by Cole CompanionDrinking mate: Wee Mac Scottish-Style Ale
A trio of short dances set to Hosier and X Ambassadors explores how people react to conflict. With modern choreography and an abstract concept, the dance pairs well with the complex Wee Mac brew. The darker ale gives off some hazelnut vibes with caramel and chocolate undertones to complement the rich storyline on stage.
Act II: You are My Sunshine by Emma Beigel
Drinking mate: Osiris Pale Ale
This pas de deux tells the story of a couple trying to keep a good relationship going. Two dancers experience emotions from anger and irritation to joy and contentment. Brewed like a West Coast style IPA, the pale ale is full of assertive citrus flavors. Between the hops and the dancing, you’re sure to feel a punch of flavor and emotion.
Act III: Excerpts from La Bayadère
Drinking mate: Sunlight Cream Ale
This classic ballet about an Indian temple dancer in a love triangle pairs well with the crisp finish of Sun King’s house brew. In a well-known scene, “The Entrance of the Kingdom of Shades,” dancers descend from a mountain. To improvise with the Athenaeum’s stage, Matheson arranged the dancers with the tallest in front to create a forced perspective. This balance of traditional and modern will leave a smile on your face, just like the hints of lemon in the cream ale.
IF YOU GO
Get tickets: btindiana.org/events
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, February 10–11
Where: Basile Theatre at the Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St.