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Found 11 results

  1. The Sarasota Ballet Announces Its 2021 – 2022 Season The Company’s upcoming Season sees a return to live, in-person performances of extraordinary works from many of the most renowned choreographers of the 20th century Sarasota, FL (April 20th, 2021) – The Sarasota Ballet’s Director, Iain Webb, announces today the Company’s 2021 – 2022 Season and the return to full in-person theater programming. The Season also marks Webb’s 15th year heading the Company, and will feature seven programs that showcase not only the range of the Company’s choreographic repertoire, but also its artistry and athleticism. Highlights include two World Premieres – the first, by Resident Choreographer Ricardo Graziano, opening the Season in October; the second, by renowned British choreographer Sir David Bintley, with a full-length adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, scheduled in March. The Season also sees the pairing of the Company Premiere of Mark Morris’ The Letter V in April, The Sarasota Ballet’s first foray into Morris’ distinctive choreography, with the March presentation of the Mark Morris Dance Group. Other highlights include the return of Sir Peter Wright’s heart wrenching Giselle and Summertide to celebrate the choreographer’s 95th birthday, and audience favorites such as Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Valses nobles et sentimentales. “After a year full of unprecedented challenges, I can’t tell you how excited we all are to return to theater and share the breathtaking beauty of ballet with a live audience,” says Webb. “We’re being cautious and adventurous with this upcoming Season. Cautious in that the first two programs are featuring just two ballets each and designed so that our audiences’ first experiences in the theater are comfortably paced. Adventurous because this Season is filled with amazing works and the most ambitious commissioned world premiere that The Sarasota Ballet has ever undertaken.” Webb adds, “With this also being my 15th year, I wanted to celebrate it with some audience favorites like Balanchine’s Serenade; ballets that mean a great deal to me like Sir Fred’s Valses nobles et sentimentales; exciting premieres like Mark Morris’ The Letter V; and work with some old friends like Sir David Bintley and Johan Kobborg!” Program 1 – New World opens The Sarasota Ballet Season with a revisit to Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, a vibrant tribute to pioneer life and a hallmark display of Americana. Set to a score commissioned by Graham from Aaron Copland, this bucolic tale of a 19th century Pennsylvania farmhouse weaves four characters’ narratives together to face uncharted obstacles. Appalachian Spring is joined by an exciting World Premiere by Resident Choreographer Ricardo Graziano. This will mark his first new choreographed work since the January 2019 premiere of Amorosa and, paired with Graham’s iconic work, opens this important Season with a sense of optimism, hope, and excitement for the future. Program 2 – Day & Night, at the Sarasota Opera House, features an energetic duo of ballets – Sir Peter Wright’s Summertide and Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs. An abstract expression of Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Wright’s Summertide distills the magnificence of a radiant day into a one-act ballet. Choreographed in 1976 for the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet with the principal role created on Margaret Barbieri, Summertide found an all too fitting home in Sarasota with a 2015 revival. Combining sunshine with swing, Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs follows with a series of legendary crooner Frank Sinatra’s tunes brought to life through dance. Each dance sequence expresses through movement the intrinsic human experiences of love and heartbreak so integral to Ol’ Blue Eyes’ oeuvre. In celebration of the choreographer’s 95th birthday anniversary, Program 3 brings Sir Peter Wright’s potent and enrapturing production of the classic Giselle to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, after the ballet’s sold-out 2019 performances. Performed across the globe by many of the great ballet companies. Wright’s production is considered by many to be one of the most faithful and artistically rich, perfectly bringing to life this tale of young love, unrequited romance, and loss. Program 4 – Love & Betrayal sees the return to The Sarasota Ballet’s renowned triple bills, with the choreography of Royal Ballet alumni Dame Ninette de Valois, Sir Frederick Ashton, and Johan Kobborg coming together for the first Program of the new year. Ashton’s Valses nobles et sentimentales holds a special place in the history of The Sarasota Ballet. Having worked with Ashton on the 1987 revival, Webb returned the ballet to the stage after almost 25 years for The Sarasota Ballet’s 2012 American Premiere, reviving the almost-lost ballet and allowing audiences to experience Ashton’s vibrant musicality. In contrast to Valses’ romanticism is de Valois’ The Rake’s Progress, a dramatic cautionary tale of betrayal and excess, showcasing the downfall of a wealthy merchant’s heir through de Valois’ extraordinary choreography and theatricality. Kobborg’s production of August Bournonville’s Napoli rounds out Love & Betrayal. This marks the world-famous dancer, choreographer, and director’s return to Sarasota since 2014. For Program 5, The Sarasota Ballet is excited to present the acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group for the first time. Founded in 1980 by dancer and choreographer Mark Morris, the group quickly garnered national and international attention as a result of Morris’ expressiveness and unique musicality. “Morris’ works unspool with airtight musical logic. His choreography follows the music in a rolling, running rhythm of phrasing and sudden punctuation, movements that fall somewhere between common activity and high stylization.” - The Washington Post Program 6 brings the World Premiere of A Comedy of Errors, a full-length balletic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s iconic comedy The Comedy of Errors, to the stage. Sir David Bintley, one of today’s most sought-after choreographers, puts his personal touch on this beloved story, with a score commissioned from renowned composer Matthew Hindson and sets and costumes by celebrated designer Dick Bird. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2020 for his services to dance, Bintley has spent the last 40 years choreographing for some of the world’s most prominent ballet companies. Simultaneously, he has created a reputation for choreographing works that seamlessly use dance as part of a rich narrative and has established himself as one of Britain’s finest choreographers. “Matthew, Dick, and I have dreamt of bringing our dance version of Shakespeare’s most outrageous comedy to the stage for almost a decade now,” explains Bintley. “I hope that it will provide a wonderful vehicle for the vibrant and energetic dancers and musicians of The Sarasota Ballet, and that Floridians will love its humor and joy – something which we desperately need after the past year.” The Season concludes with Program 7 – Serendipitous Movement, a triple bill that epitomizes the depth and range of The Sarasota Ballet, and features George Balanchine’s Serenade, the Company Premiere of Mark Morris’ The Letter V, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations. Balanchine’s gorgeous Serenade opens, coursing through the four movements of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in a mesmerizingly graceful display. The Company Premiere of Morris’ dynamic The Letter V follows, marking the first time the Company will have worked with this astounding choreographer. Originally premiered in 2015 by the Houston Ballet, The Letter V sets Morris’ dynamic approach to dance and distinctive musicality to Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 88 in G, a pairing that Alistair Macaulay stated, in his New York Times review, “exemplifies the same qualities as Mr. Morris: high spirits, terrific humor, a strong inclination to the pastoral and a keen instinct for structural experimentation.” The long-awaited return of MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations closes the Program with a ragtime-fueled, comedy-infused dance-off. Created for The Royal Ballet in 1974 with MacMillan at his most whimsical, the curtain opens as Elite Syncopations’ cast dances wildly on a virtually bare stage surrounded by a live band. Executive Director Joseph Volpe adds, “Alongside celebrating the artistic achievements that The Sarasota Ballet has attained during Iain’s 15 years, this Season is also a tribute to the extraordinary support that our patrons and audience members have given us during this past Season. Throughout the pandemic we were able to look after the health and wellbeing of our dancers, staff, and students, which was made possible because of the commitment and generosity of our community. Safely returning to the theater and continuing to produce world-class artistry is our way of showing our heartfelt thanks to our Sarasota Ballet family.” Further details here: https://www.sarasotaballet.org/sarasota-ballet-announces-its-2021-–-2022-season
  2. I know that this run still has a week to go before opening night but I thought some may enjoy reading my interview with Delia Mathews as she prepares to make her debut as Aurora alongside Brandon Lawrence. http://tothepointemagazine.wixsite.com/tothepointemagazine/single-post/2018/01/27/ToThePointe-Meets-Delia-Mathews xx
  3. A fuller cast list for tonight's opening performance is now here: https://www.roh.org.uk/events/whm7y Not complete though, as far as I can see - Rose Fairy, for example?
  4. For those of you going to the Royal Albert Hall to see BRB’s Nutcracker, don’t expect to see the same production as you will see in Birmingham. It’s a “special” version designed for the RAH. Still very lovely but quite different - just as the ENB “In the round” Swan Lake is different from the Coliseum production.
  5. Birmingham Royal Ballet gave 4 performances of Coppelia in Sunderland and I was very happy to be there. I saw 3 of the performances and I have to say that they all sparkled! SPW's production of Coppelia is just gorgeous with its sumptuous sets and costumes and its attention to detail. On Thursday evening Miki Mizutani was just sublime as Swanilda with Tzu-Chao Chou as her "cheeky chappy" Franz. Her dancing was glorious and her depth of characterisation was beautiful to watch. The role of Franz fits Tzu-Chao like a glove. The incomparable Michael O'Hare gave a performance full of fun and pathos as Dr Coppelius. Friday afternoon was a treat with a sparky Maureya Lebowitz as Swanilda and Lachlan Monaghan as her exuberant Franz. I had a huge grin on my face throughout the whole performance! On Friday evening Arancha Baselga was a fun-loving Swanilda with Max Maslen hitting just the right note of cheekiness as Franz. The whole performance was just lovely. At all 3 performances I saw Celine Gittens was radiant as Dawn and Brooke Ray performed Prayer beautifully. Yasuo Atsuji and Miles Gilliver shared the honours in leading the Call to Arms. Yasuo was particularly exuberant. I suspect that not all of the company was present as most of the corps roles were danced by the same performers at every performance (presumably the rest of the company are preparing for Virginia and Japan) but it mattered not a jot!
  6. In celebration of Peter Wright's 90th birthday, The Royal Ballet present his 'Nutcracker' for the festive season (opening late November and running through to mid January). I was at one of the dress rehearsals, featuring the debut of Francesca Hayward, as SPF. Here are a few photos: Anna Rose O'Sullivan © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr Yasmine Naghdi © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr Francesca Hayward © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr See more... Set from DanceTabs: RB - Nutcracker 2016 Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr By kind permission of the Royal Opera House
  7. Not sure whether this has already been discussed on another thread, but it seems that Peter Wright's book may be something of a potboiler. It seems that he has been very candid about feuds and very nasty behaviour at the RB - only Monica Mason seems to be come out of it well. Should be an interesting read.... https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jun/17/sir-peter-wright-ballet-memoir-rudolf-nureyev Note from the Editor : This post was originally started today by Two Pigeons at this post: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/13093-sir-peter-wright-the-autobiography/?p=179217 I've moved some previous posts about the book into here from another thread, which can be found here: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/12756-sir-peter-wright-in-conversation/page-0
  8. Last Sunday I attended with other members of the London Ballet Circle the opening night of the Hungarian National Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty by our patron, Sir Peter Wright, at the Budapest Opera House. It was a great occasion and crowned a day in which I attended class with the Hungarian dancer, choreographer and teacher Imre Andrasi in the company with Mel Wong which I have described in the Simply Adult Ballet thread. The leading roles were danced by Aliya Tankpayeva and Dimitry Timofeev whom you can see in the photograph above. As for the other roles, the Lilac Fairy was danced by Zsuzsanna Papp, Carabosse by Karina Sarkissova and Bluebird by Maksym Kovtun who also doubled as Puss in Boots. In that latter role he was partnered by the young Canadian dancer Danielle Gould who danced the white cat and who impressed me very much indeed. The ballet was staged with assistance from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, The sets and costumes were Philip Prowse's and the lighting was arranged by Peter Teigen. I enjoyed the performances of all the dancers but Tanlpaeyeva and Timofeev danced Aurora and Desire somewhat differently from the way I remember the principals of the Birmingham Royal Ballet when I last saw it at the Lowry over 2 years ago. After the show I was lucky enough to be invited back stage for the cast party where my friend Gita Mistry took the photo that appears above. If anyone is interested I have reviewed the show in my blog.
  9. BRB has started its latest run of Coppelia in Edinburgh at the Festival Theatre. I missed the opening night but reports claim that Elisha Willis, Joe Caley and Michael O'Hare surpassed themselves. The Thursday matinee was notable for finally giving Samara Downs her first leading role, as Swanilda- previously she's always been a Friend, never the lead. Her dancing was confident and her interpretation impressive. Jamie Bond was a convincing Franz and Rory Mackay a touching Dr Coppelius: modern British productions underplay the sinister elements of Hoffman's eccentric scientist but within that approach Rory's sensitive and detailed characterisation is very effective. In the evening Momoko Hirata's dancing was technically assured and elegant and Cesar Morales's Franz a sympathetic chancer, danced with his usual stylistic aplomb, and Jonathan Payn an effective conventional Coppelius.The Act 3 solos were well done in both performances; Jenna Roberts danced Prayer sensitively in both performances- it's a difficult solo to pull off but she had the necessary gravity and control. As Dawn, Karla Doorbar and Yvette Knight, very different dancers in physique and style, were equally good. In Act 1, Daria Stanciulescu, a dancer new to me, and Maureya Lebowitz, again very different dancers, were sultry Gypsies. On Friday BRB premiered First Steps: a Child's Coppelia. I was unable to see it but it sounds an interesting variation on the child-friendly performances that British companies have been introducing. It was the Festival Theatre iwho suggested it, professional dancers will be performing and talking about their roles and the orchestra will be playing so it will be quite a full scale introduction.
  10. BRB's Nutcracker Season has opened at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Please put your thoughts on this thread. To whet your appetite, here's a featurette from the local ITV News.
  11. I was in Sunderland for the first three performances of Coppelia. Sir Peter Wright's 1995 production is handsome and very traditional and still looks as fresh as a daisy. Opening night honours went to Elisha Willis and Matthew Lawrence. Elisha is terrific as Swanilda - her outrage at Franz' flirting is a joy to behold and she is very deft of foot in Act 2. Matthew Lawrence "acts big" and Franz suits him. He's a terrific partner. On Thursday evening we were treated to a delightful performance from Laetitia Lo Sardo and Joe Caley. Laetitia is sublime as Swanilda; she is totally subsumed into the role. I adore Joe as Franz - he really is a cheeky chappy with just the right amount of frivolous flirting and enormous energy in his perfomance. The highlight for me was the schools' matinee on Thursday afternoon. The children present were, without exception, wonderfully behaved and created a very enthusiastic and enjoyable atmosphere in the audience. They were treated to a dazzling virtuoso performance from Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao. The roles fitted them like gloves and they brought just the right amount of humour, flirting and pathos to their sparkling, fizzing performance. Bravi to them! The whole company were on joyous form. I particularly enjoyed Callie Roberts as Dawn at one performance and we had three terrific "Call to Arms" leaders in Tyrone Singleton, Matthias Dingman and Tzu-Chao Chou. Jonathan Payn, Rory Mackay and Valentin Olovyannikov are all notable and enjoyable as Doctor Coppelius. Coppelia is at the Coliseum at the end of the week - I do hope you can all get along to see a performance and record your thoughts here!
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