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From the Met to MTV, Leah O'Donnell brings her vast dance experience to northern Michigan

Leah O'Donnell
Leah O'Donnell

This weekend, Leah O'Donnell's choreography will be featured during the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra's "España" concert.

IPR spoke with O'Donnell about her training and background, which includes performing everywhere from the Mark Twain Awards to the Metropolitan Opera to Saturday Night Live and the MTV Video Music Awards.

She fell in love with dance at an early age, watching her grandparents ballroom dance together.

Classically trained in ballet, O'Donnell has also shared the stage with artists including Nancy Sinatra, Nicki Minaj, the Roots and Beyoncé.

Following an injury a few years ago, she shifted her focus from performance to choreography.

O'Donnell choreographed Manuel de Falla's ballet "El amor brujo" (Love, the Magician) for this weekend's Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra concert.

"The music is so passionate and exciting and powerful," she said.

According to O'Donnell, the choreography she created embraces the otherworldly and spiritual while also leaving room for improvisation. "It's many elements woven together," she explained.

Leah O’Donnell’s choreography for Falla's "El amor brujo" will be featured onstage this weekend during the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra’s "España" concert.

It's happening Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor. Click here for more information and tickets.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.