Jimmy Orrante was a little nervous.

He was pulling together last week pieces for the Benefit, an evening of performances by local and national dancers, choreographers, musicians and singers that raises money for the central Ohio chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.

The annual show takes place at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21.

Adding to the pressure on Orrante and fellow show producer Attila Bongar, the Benefit is moving to the Speaker Jo Ann Davidson Theatre in the Riffe Center, 77 S. High St., after being in the more intimate BalletMet Performance Space its first three years.

"It's all coming together," said Orrante, a Clintonville resident who retired in 2015 following a 19-year career as a dancer and choreographer with BalletMet. "There's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes in a bigger theater."

Orrante -- whose 14-year-old son, Isaac, has hemophilia -- recalled that he had to convince fellow dancers and other artists to donate their time for the first Benefit.

"Now we're at a point where we have artists contacting us," he said.

Nineteen dancers from BalletMet, Columbus Dance Theatre and ballet troupes in Cincinnati, Miami and Rochester, New York, will perform.

Most of the pieces will be accompanied by 25 musicians, led by conductor and cellist Luis Biava of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Baritone Robert Kerr of Opera Columbus will be a new addition to the Benefit, as will narration provided by COSI Chief Scientist Paul Sutter of the new "Voyager: A Work in Three Sections." The latter is based on music sent into space with NASA's Voyager interstellar mission, Bongar said.

"It was interesting, artistically and scientifically," he said. "It's a beautiful idea. It just captures humanity at its best."

One of the sections, featuring Orrante and five female dancers, will be set to the song "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" by bluesman Blind Willie Johnson, performed by blues guitarist Bullfrog Willard McGhee of North Carolina.

"It's not your normal show," Orrante said. "It's a little bit of everything."

Two years ago, Orrante said, he choreographed an original piece for the Benefit titled "Onwards."

At the post-performance reception, a doctor approached Orrante and said she "totally got the concept of the piece." To her, it was about the interaction of white and red blood cells.

Orrante said those just happened to be the colors of the dancers' costumes, but if that's what she took away with her, that was fine with him.

"That's what performances are meant to do," Orrante said. "The show is for everyone. Art is for everyone. People shouldn't exclude themselves from the arts because they think they might not understand it."

VIP tickets to the Benefit are $55, while general admission is $30. Tickets for students and youth are $15. Admission includes a post-performance reception and silent auction.

To purchase tickets, visit bit.ly/thebenefit2017.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1