Category Archives: Ballets News

A special Don Quixote in Kiev as Kateryna Khaniukova Returns Home


A special Don Quixote in Kiev as Kateryna Khaniukova Returns Home

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Kateryna (Katja) Khaniukova, who has been dancing with English National Ballet these last 15 months, returned home to the company where she was a much loved principal dancer – Kiev Ballet. Graham Watts reports on the night and ballet in a country at war…

Kiev Ballet (National Ballet of Ukraine)
Don Quixote

Kiev, National Opera House
5 June 2015
www.opera.com.ua

Ballet enjoys significant popularity in the Ukraine and the Kiev State Choreographic Institute – now run by Nobuhiro Terada – has produced some of the world’s leading dancers (Alina Cojocaru, Sergei Polunin, Denis Matvienko and Ivan Putrov to name but a few). Another recent export is 25 year-old Kateryna Khaniukova who joined English National Ballet in March 2014 – a Rojo recruit, sufficiently attracted by the ambition and inspiration of the company’s artistic director to relinquish the status of principal ballerina in her home city of Kiev, to become a junior soloist in London. As a first thought, it may seem odd for Khaniukova to have swapped this elite home status for a lower place in another company’s hierarchy but Tamara Rojo’s drawing power and the expanding repertoire of ENB is clearly worth the risk.

It is even more remarkable given that Khaniukova had no prior intention of leaving Kiev to dance elsewhere. During a brief visit to London, she was advised by her coach in Kiev – Alla Lagoda (also a former mentor to Cojocaru) – to take class while away, thus becoming a relatively unknown guest at ENB’s morning ritual. Her impeccable technique immediately attracted Rojo’s attention and the subsequent offer of a contract. The expressive quality of English ballet was a powerful incentive but the potential of working under Rojo was the decisive factor. “We had only seen her on DVD”, Khaniukova told me, “and so the opportunity to come and work with an artist of such dramatic quality was something that I just couldn’t miss. I wanted to absorb all those feelings into my work”.

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Leaving the Ukraine permanently was not so easy. The Maidan Square Revolution erupted soon after her return and the visa centre was in the line of sniper fire. It took weeks to sort out the paperwork through all this chaos, during which time Khaniukova’s parents – both doctors – were tending to the Maidan’s victims. The requisite passport pages were eventually stamped and Kateryna (informally known as Katja) was able to join ENB, two months later than planned.

A cold night in February 2014 saw her farewell performance at the Kiev Opera House, given to a skeleton audience sheltering from the troubles outside. Just like Pavlova and others dancing on in St Petersburg through the 1905 Russian Revolution, Katja felt that “…dancing ballet seemed so pointless when people were dying on the streets a few hundred yards’ away”. Since the ballet being performed was The Nutcracker, the land of the sweets must have seemed a million miles away!

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

What a difference in just 15 months! Khaniukova’s return to Kiev for a one-off performance of Don Quixote was accorded the glittering, red-carpet treatment of a major premiere. Fashion magazines were there to photograph the event; TV stations filmed it; a documentary film crew followed the ballerina wherever she went over the whole weekend. A “sold-out” theatre included an audience of politicians, journalists and assorted celebrities from the worlds of sport, film and the arts. It was an occasion that fully demonstrated the power of Ukrainians’ affection for an artist who had left to make a mark elsewhere; turning up in their droves to welcome Katja home.

The National Opera House of the Ukraine (named in honour of Taras Shevchenko) is a gorgeous – if slightly dishevelled – architectural gem, designed by Victor Schröter. A curved neo-renaissance exterior – the façade a neat double-height row of columns and porticos – sits under a domed roof topped off by impressive statuary; enclosing a classical interior, based on the Viennese model of the early 20th Century. As so often the case in Central European cities, this opera house replaced another that was consumed by fire (allegedly caused by a candle left alight after a performance of Eugene Onegin) and the new building on Volodymirska Street was opened in September 1901. The backstage areas and studios are spacious although in need of refurbishment and the public parts are a splendidly ornate warren of corridors and passageways with a surprise around every turn. Unnoticeable to most but key to those who perform there is a flaking, apparently uneven, wooden stage with a vicious rake.

Kateryna Khaniukova in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

The version of Don Quixote in the Kiev repertory is a typical hand-me-down interpretation of Gorsky’s 1900 revision of Petipa’s original 1869 ballet, seen through the prism of many further retouches through the years of the Soviet Union. It enjoys detailed painted – but generally dull – backcloths to represent generic scenography and vivid, decorative costumes (not least, the gorgeous crimson and black tutu with gold embroidery worn by Khaniukova’s Quiteria in the final act celebrations). In many ways, the design of this Don Quixote was a cipher for the opera house in which it played: both beautiful and decrepit; grand elegance slightly worn out by age. It would sit appropriately within a Venetian setting.

There are some additions to the traditional libretto including a gypsy pas de deux to music with which I am not familiar and is neither by Minkus or Drigo. The conductor – Herman Makarenko – told me that this addition was by a little-known soviet composer and had been added during the mid-twentieth century. He couldn’t remember the name but my guess is that it was composed by Vassily Soloviev-Sedoy for the Bolshoi’s production in 1940. Anyone with better information is welcome to comment below.

Viktor Ishchuk, Kateryna Khaniukova and Sergei Litvinenko in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

The comic-book characterisations of the title character and his side-kick, Sancho Panza, were accomplished in broad-brush style, respectively by Sergei Litvinenko and Nikita Sokolov. The latter is a fine name for this ballet since it was another Sokolov (Sergey) on whom the very first Basil was created in the premiere of Petipa’s ballet at the Bolshoi in 1869 (and incidentally, he was alsoSwan Lake’s first-ever Rothbart) Litvinenko was a most appropriate, tall and lanky, tourist-book evocation of the wandering, chivalrous knight. If in need of another job he could become a Don Q look-alike around the arid plains of Castilla La Mancha (where only a week previously, by coincidence, I visited the tiny village of Santa Quiteria and met a matador!)

Elsewhere in the cast, I was taken by fiery performances from another Kateryna (Kurchenko) as the Street Dancer and the vivacious Mercedes of Ksenia Novikova; plus a gypsy solo with swirling red skirt and elastic spine from another Ksenia (Ivanenko). Maxim Kamishev was a haughty Espada (known as Esparto in the Ukraine); Irina Borisova brought regal elegance to the Queen of the Dryads; and yet another Kateryna (Kalchenko) was ethereally fleet-footed and busy as the Cupid. One overriding impression that remained with me throughout the ballet was of ultra soft landings on this hard uncompromising stage. All the dancers’ jumps were generally high and long, yet their landings were largely silent.

Kateryna Khaniukova and Kateryna Kalchenko in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Khaniukova was reunited with her former dance partner, Viktor Ishchuk, who graduated into the Kiev company in 2001. He is ideally cast as Basil, the carefree but indigent barber of Barcelona. In a modern adaption he might suit being a skater boy since Ishchuk has that quality of naturalistic, blithe and buoyant chirpiness. He is a dancer with the prodigious virtuoso skills required for Basil but there’s also a charming “devil-may-care” dishevelment around the edges.

Kateryna Khaniukova and Viktor Ishchuk in Don Quixote.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Khaniukova’s Quiteria is a delicately-framed but ebullient minx. As merited by the special circumstances of this show, she was truly a divinity returned from exile. An adoring audience lapped up every second of her return, beginning with that gleeful opening solo in the Barcelona marketplace. By the time of her fast terre-a-terre entry to the harp accompaniment in the final act variation, Khaniukova had the whole audience clapping along with every step; not something I have experienced many times before.

Few ballerinas have an entire armoury of elite skills but Khaniukova seems without any weakness. She spins and jumps strongly (her jeté is an object of marvel), possesses an intuitive musicality, extraordinary flexibility, graceful port de bras and épaulement; and she gilds the lily by capturing the romantic, comedic and Machiavellian essences of Quiteria with exquisite, expressive acting. It was a performance perfectly pitched to the gala occasion of her homecoming. Remarkably, she and Ishchuk managed to rise above having almost no time to rehearse together, holding it all together securely through their collective body memories. It was only when Khaniukova was required to dance in harmony with Borisova and Kalchenko during the dream scene that any lack of rehearsal was detectible.

Kateryna Khaniukova flanked by Viktor Ishchuk and conductor Herman Makarenko - Don Quixote curtain calls.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

Don Quixote is such an anomaly in the classical ballet repertoire. The performer in the title role never dances and is merely a supporting character artist; it is an adaption that bears almost no narrative relation to the original novel; a rare example of a comedy amongst a horde of nineteenth century melodramas and tragedies and an even rarer example of a ballet being named after a man and not the leading female.

The layered contributions from Petipa and Gorsky in versions that went back and forth between Moscow and St Petersburg have left us with the best of both worlds in Eastern European stagings that have followed – including this archetypical production in Kiev – with comedic fun, pantomime characterisations and – most especially – the opportunity to see state-of-the-art ballet technique, expertly performed.

Kateryna Khaniukova - Don Quixote curtain calls.© Ksenia Orlova. (Click image for larger version)

One might add that Don Quixote is a ballet of hope, best represented by the title character’s chivalric quest for honour and a happy ending. In that sense it seemed very appropriate to the current situation in the Ukraine, a country under threat from its eastern borders. The notion of honour and a happy ending are especially relevant to their troubles of today.

In addition to this excellent gala performance, my weekend in Kiev included a tour of the Kiev Ballet School, meeting legendary teachers (such as the octogenarian, Vladimir Denisenko) and watching an awed class of young dancers receive a signed pair of Tamara Rojo’s pointe shoes. Kiev has a second fully-fledged opera house with a full-scale ballet company, which rejoices in the wholesome title of the Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet Theater for Children and Youth. Walking past the theatre on Mezhyhirsta Street on Saturday afternoon, my charming guide suddenly disappeared inside and – within seconds – I found myself being ushered into the central box to see the final act of Valeriy Koftun’s Cinderella, which had dancing of a decent, professional standard. An opera house just for kids – no wonder culture thrives in the Ukraine!

Reblogged from Dance Tabs  http://www.networkdance.com/ballet-news/A-special-Don-Quixote-in-Kiev-as-Kateryna-Khaniukova-Returns-Home/24872

Doug Fullington – on Stepanov Notation | NetworkDance


Doug Fullington – on Stepanov Notation | NetworkDance.

José Limón International Dance Festival Oct 13-25


Running from October 13-25, 2015 at The Joyce Theater, the José Limón International Dance Festival will assemble dance companies and colleges from 7 countries around the world to join Limón Dance Company in sharing 16 of Limón’s masterworks with a wider audience. Visit the Joyce Theater webpage here to purchase tickets.

 

lick here to see Guest Performers and Programs!

José Limón International Dance Festival | Limón.

The Spirits of a Summer Day-new ballet!


(1) The Spirits of a Summer Day.

​Legend Maya Plisetskaya died today…no words.


​Legendary Bolshoi ballerina Maya Plisetskaya dies at 89 — RT News

​Legendary Bolshoi ballerina Maya Plisetskaya dies at 89 — RT News.

Save the Date! March 27th @8pm: Edward Henkel’s MovementTalks: Real Men Dance—92nd Street Y – New York, NY


Edward Henkel's Movement Talks: Real Men Dance-We've Come A Long Way Baby (Randy James,  10 Hairy Legs, Adam Weinert, and Norton Owen

OVERVIEW

The story of men who dance is complicated, with ups and downs, stereotypes and triumphs.

This program presents several people with different perspectives and insights about the legacy and meaning of male dancers. Randy James’ talks about his all-male company, 10 Hairy Legs, which celebrates the technical and emotional range of male dancers. The group will also perform two pieces. Andy Weinert (also performing at 92Y on April 24 and 25) has been reconstructing dances by Ted Shawn, the first important male American dancer of the 20th century, and by other modern dance pioneers, while also creating new works that investigate that legacy. For perspective and a sense of the changing history of male dancers, Norton Owen joins us. He’s the archivist for Jacob’s Pillow, which was founded by Shawn.

via Edward Henkel’s MovementTalks: Real Men Dance—We’ve Come a Long Way Baby – 92nd Street Y – New York, NY.

Introducing a New More Refined Dynamic: The Boston Ballet!


Boston Ballet Overview – YouTube.

Live in Cinemas May 5th, 2015 La Fille mal Gardée Trailer (The Wayward Daughter) The Royal Ballet


 

La Fille mal gardée trailer (The Wayward Daughter) | The Royal Ballet – YouTube.

 

Find out more here: http://www.roh.org.uk/showings/la-fille-mal-gardee-live-2015

Ballet San Jose Needs Donations by March 14 Deadline!


José Manuel Carreño adjusts Ommi Pipit-Suksun in company class. Photo by Alejandro Gomez

Ballet San Jose Needs $550,000 To Stay Afloat

Posted by Kristin Schwab on Friday, Mar 06, 2015 (reposted from Dance Magazine)

Ballet San Jose announced this week that it must raise $550,000 by March 14 to keep its doors open.

The company has a troubled past when it comes to leadership and funding. For instance, it sought out loans to help cover what critics more or less dubbed as over-ambitious seasons during the final decade of artistic director Dennis Nahat’s leadership. In 2013, former American Ballet Theatre dancer José Manuel Carreño was appointed AD. As we reported in our January 2014 feature, during his first season, the company’s prospects were looking up. Though Carreño had little to no experience running a company, his fame helped donations rise during the 2012–13 season and Ballet San Jose nearly broke even, compared to a $1 million operating loss in the previous year.

In a press release, BSJ said that if it is open come September 2015, the company will rebrand itself as Silicon Valley Ballet—a move to more closely identify itself with the neighboring tech community.

Visit the donation page here

via Dance Magazine – If it’s happening in the world of dance, it’s happening in Dance Magazine..

Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballet Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL


Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL

February 27

3:36

2015

This spring, Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of a ballet based on “Camino Real” by Tennessee Williams, the renowned playwright who authored such American classics as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Choreographed by Atlanta Ballet choreographer in residence Helen Pickett, Williams’ “lost classic” of love, redemption and courage will debut March 20-22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Check out pictures and renderings from the show below!

Inspired by Williams’ 1953 Broadway play of the same name, the story is told from the perspective of Kilroy, a character based on patriotic iconography from the WWII era. The young American soldier and onetime prizewinning boxer finds himself trapped in the surreal, dead-end town of Camino Real forced to grapple with mortality, the burning desire to connect and the will to live.

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Through his journey to bring renewed hope to the town of lost souls, Kilroy meets a cast of unlikely characters from various periods of history and pop culture, such as Casanova, Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Marguerite (The Lady of the Camellias), and Lord Byron, who together struggle to escape their fates.

“This is your classic good versus evil story,” said Pickett, whose adventure with the play began five years ago when her father handed down his copy from his college theater days, suggesting it would make a good ballet.

“I read it once and put it away, not understanding how I might tackle the content,” said Pickett. “A year later, I picked up the play again, and found my way into the story: focus on the characters first. Now, it is such a part of my reality, I can’t imagine how I will let go of these characters.”

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Pickett announced the project shortly after accepting her residency with Atlanta Ballet in 2012 and has been working on the production ever since. Every aspect of the ballet, from the music to the costumes to the set design, has been a collaborative effort between Pickett and the team of artists she assembled.

To design the whimsical costumes, Pickett chose award-winning designer Sandra Woodall, who she has known since her days as a student with San Francisco Ballet. Woodall then introduced Pickett to lighting designer David Finn, whose commissions include Cirque du Soleil and numerous other major U.S. ballet companies. Finn then recommended set designer Emma Kingsbury, who he subsequently worked in tandem with on the scenic design. The rich, textured score, which Pickett has described as a character all its own, is the creation of composer Peter Salem.

“All of these people truly enjoy the art of collaboration,” said Pickett. “They are magnificent artists that bring all their ideas to the table. We are like mix masters; we just throw all of our concepts into the bowl and stir and filter. I am in love with each of them and their visions.”

The final layer of the creative process was the choreography- a collaboration as well with Atlanta Ballet’s full 23-member company. Pickett began working with the Company in September, devoting full days to rehearsal to ensure that the 75-minute ballet would be complete by its March premiere. By opening night, more than 300 rehearsal hours will have gone into bringing the production to stage.

To add to the theatricality, Pickett has also challenged several of the dancers to learn lines. Williams’ text – actual excerpts from the play – will be spoken by the principal characters throughout the ballet.

“It’s a new situation for them,” said Pickett in a 2014 interview with Creative Loafing. “But they are opening and unfolding in incredible ways. I wouldn’t have asked them to do this the first time we worked together. You have to build trust between you and the performer so that a person feels like they can open up, so cracks can happen in those walls, maybe even a breakthrough can happen.”

Atlanta Ballet’s world premiere of “Camino Real” will open at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Friday, March 20 with a red carpet opening night. Three performances will follow, including the finale on Sunday, March 22.

Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet's World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' CAMINO REAL

Tickets start as low as $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.atlantaballet.com or call 404-892-3303. For groups of ten or more, call Atlanta Ballet Group Sales at 404-873-5811, ext. 207.

via Photo Flash: First Look- Atlanta Ballet’s World Premiere Ballat Adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ CAMINO REAL.

 

Via : Broadway World

Tamara Rojo: Axing dance in schools will restrict ballet to wealthy – Telegraph


Tamara Rojo: Axing dance in schools will restrict ballet to wealthy - Telegraph
Artistic Director and principle dancer Tamara Rojo & Fabian Reimair from English National Ballet rehearse Akram Khan ‘s new work: Dust, as part of a program entitled ‘Lest We Forget’ in commemoration of the start of World War I, at The Barbican Centre in London Photo: Araud Stephenson

Tamara Rojo: Axing dance in schools will restrict ballet to wealthy

Tamara Rojo, the artistic director of the English National Ballet criticised the decision of former education secretary Michael Gove to cut dance from the school curriculum

Artistic Director and principle dancer Tamara Rojo & Fabian Reimair from English National Ballet rehearse Akram Khan ‘s new work: Dust, as part of a program entitled ‘Lest We Forget’ in commemoration of the start of World War I, at The Barbican Centre in London Photo: Araud Stephenson

By Keith Perry 11:47PM GMT 05 Dec 2014

Tamara Rojo, the artistic director of the English National Ballet has criticised the decision of former education secretary Michael Gove to cut dance from the school curriculum, saying it risks making dance a preserve of the better off.

Ms Rojo said it was unfair as it meant “those that don’t have the means won’t have access to dance”.

She told the Evening Standard that is was particularly unwise to take dance out of schools as there was evidence of overwhelmingly improved results in maths taught through movement and 100 per cent increase in confidence.

The ENB itself offers tickets for as little as £10 to enable people to enjoy live dance. “We try to ensure that it is an art form that is accessible to everybody,” she said.

The Spanish dance star and her company are preparing to open their traditional Christmas production of Nutcracker followed by a run of Swan Lake.

Rojo said Nutcracker was important because the company had been performing it for more than 60 years. She added: There are two dozen Nutcrackers going round the United States. it is a very important tradition because for so many people it’s the first time they come to see ballet at all or to see a live performance in an orchestra.

“It’s a family tradition that goes from generation to generation and serves as an introduction to the art form.”

The challenge, she said, was to keep those first-time visitors – but audiences for dance have been growing. She praised both Billy Elliott, which overturned many prejudices about boys doing ballet, and Strictly Come Dancing for helping to foster a new passion.

But she rejected any notion she might follow Darcey Bussell in becoming a judge on the BBC show saying: “I think Darcey does a wonderful job.”

Rojo, 40, boosted the ENB’s fortunes when she returned as principal and boss two years ago but she said the pressure was shared with the arrival of major dancers such as Alina Cojocaru and guests including and guests including Ivan Vasiliev.

But she warned she would not be able to dance for as long as Sylvie Guillem who will retire next year at 50.

“She has an incredible physicality that I sadly don’t have. My end will come much earlier than that.

The Nutcracker runs at the London Coliseum from Thursday to January 4.

via Tamara Rojo: Axing dance in schools will restrict ballet to wealthy – Telegraph.

New Choreography/Mariinsky Ballet: Репетиция балета “Бэмби” – The Birth of Bambi/In the Jungle


The Birth of Bambi
The Birth of Bambi

Composer: Andrei Golovin
Choreographer: Anton Pimonov
Librettist and Designer: Anna Matison
Lighting Designer: Alexander Sivaev

via Репетиция балета “Бэмби” – YouTube.

Evening of one act ballets by Anton Pimonov: The Birth of Bambi. In the Jungle (Classical Ballet)
In the Jungle

Composer: Andrei Golovin 
Choreographer: Anton Pimonov
Librettist and Designer: Anna Matison
Lighting Designer: Alexander Sivaev

Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballets” Swan Lake to Go on a 7 City U.S. Tour, Beginning 3/31


Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” to Go on a 7 City U.S. Tour, Beginning 3/31

Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” to Go on a 7 City U.S. Tour, Beginning 3/31

February 25

6:16

2015

The esteemed Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” will embark on a seven-city U.S. tour beginning in Milwaukee on Tuesday, March 31. Ten performances will showcase the classic fantasy ballet “Swan Lake,” featuring the renowned music by Tchaikovsky and an impressive cast of some of the world’s best dancers. The Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” continues to captivate audiences worldwide, adhering to the signature aspects of Russian ballet as a whole: true expressivity, dramatic presentation and impeccable technical presentation.

“We are thrilled to bring the Saint Petersburg ‘Russian Ballet’ to the U.S. and believe the audience will enjoy themselves,” said Ernesto Texo with Texoart Cultural Productions.

Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” performers are graduates of Saint Petersburg’s prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy, founded in 1738, and continue to perform on the oldest stages in Saint Petersburg. Consistently delighting sold-out audiences worldwide with world-class dancers and dazzling costumes, the Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” continues to make international touring a large part of its contribution to furthering Russian dance and culture.

Created in 1990 by the family of professional ballet dancers, The Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” dynasty is more than 100 years old. Artistic Director Alexander Bruskin is a former soloist of the famed Kirov Ballet, a former classmate of the renowned Mikhail Baryshnikov, and a former student of legendary ballet instructor Alexander Pushkin.

The Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” has successfully conducted more than 50 tours worldwide in countries including Japan, England, Ireland, Spain, the U.S., France and Germany among many others, and has participated in 10 international ballet festivals. Today, the repertoire includes such masterpieces as “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Nutcracker” and “Don Quixote.” Each ballet is performed in its original choreography, and the Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” perceives its main mission to be the preservation of such choreographic authenticity.

The Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” U.S. performance schedule, venue and ticket information is as follows:

Tuesday, March 31

Riverside Theater

116 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee

8 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.)

Tickets: On sale now | $60 | $80 | $100

Available at the Riverside Theater Box Office or pabsttheater.org.

Tuesday, April 7

Van Wezel Performing Arts Center

777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Fla.

8 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now | $45 | $65 | $85 | $100 | $120

Available at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center Box Office, vanwezel.org, or by phone at 941-953-3368.

Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 – Two performances!

Lucas Theatre

32 Abercorn St., Savannah, Ga.

7 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now

Available via lucastheatre.com, or by phone at 912-525-5050.

Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12 – Two performances!

Jones Hall for the Performing Arts

615 Louisiana St., Houston

7 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now

Available at the Jones Hall Box Office or houstonfirsttheaters.com.

Thursday, April 16

Lila Cockrell Theatre in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

200 E. Market St., San Antonio

7:30 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now $40 | $65 | $80 | $95 | $110

Available at the Alamodome Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22 – Two performances!

AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House – Margaret McDermott Performance Hall

2403 Flora St., Dallas

7 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now

$43.50 | $53.50 | $63.50 | $103.50 | $123.50 | $143.50 | $163.50

Available at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Information Center, ticketdfw.com, or by phone at 214-871-5000.

Thursday, April 23

Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts

1419 Basin St., New Orleans

7:30 p.m.

Tickets: On sale now | $60 | $85 | $130

Available at the Mahalia Jackson Theater Box Office (day of show only), or in advance at all Ticketmaster outlets,ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 800-745-3000.

For more information, visit http://spbt.ru.

via Saint Petersburg State “Russian Ballet” to Go on a 7 City U.S. Tour, Beginning 3/31.

 

Save the Date!!!Dance Against Cancer 2015 Trailer-Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht, producers


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/118718377″>Dance Against Cancer 2015 Trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user9362802″>Jetpacks Go!</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

via Dance Against Cancer 2015 Trailer on Vimeo.

Teen Ballet Dancer Harrison Lee Wins Prestigious Prix de Lausanne Prize


REPOSTED FROM THE AGE/JOEL MEARES
Harrison Lee, 15, back home in Castle Hill after winning the famed Prix de Lausanne. Photo: Steven Siewert

At first, Harrison Lee thought he was in trouble. His mother had called him into her bedroom early in the morning, and he was “a little scared” – this was not the regular morning routine at their Castle Hill home. Then she gave him the news: “She sat me down on her bed and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Switzerland!'”

It was the news the 15-year-old had been waiting more than a month to hear, ever since he sent a DVD of himself performing a variation from the ballet Flames of Paris to the judges of the Prix de Lausanne, among the world’s most prestigious competitions for young dancers. From 300 entrants, he was one of 70 invited to Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, for a week of classes and performances.

“When she told me I got in, happiness just took over my body,” says Lee. But he did not leap down the road, Billy Elliot-style, painting his delight for the world in pirouettes and arabesques. “I’m not one to scream and shout and go crazy,” he says calmly. “It just took over inside.”

Harrison Lee: The dancer won the Youth America Grand Prix in 2014. Photo: Steven Siewert

Last week, after eight days of classes and major performances, Lee took top prize in Lausanne. He again showed trademark control when called forward from a line of finalists – some three and four years his senior. “I was shocked, and I was getting very emotional so I had to hold that in until it was over.” He adds with a laugh: “I didn’t want to watch this back five years later and see myself crying.”

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The Lausanne win comes just shy of a year since Lee took out the equally prestigious Youth America Grand Prix: the one-two punch puts him among the most promising, and prized, young dancers in the world. Watching the YouTube video of Lee performing his classical variation at the Lausanne finals – a video that has clocked 37,000 views in less than a week – it is easy to see why. His control and strength astounds: he springs to impossible heights from the raked stage; his toes arch improbably towards his heel. One commenter writes under the video: “Good lord those feet are so good they should pay taxes!”

Brisbane’s Lucid Dance Theatre founder Louise Deleur was a choreographer at the Prix, and watched Harrison on stage and in classes, where the dancers are also scored. “He was blessed with these long legs and beautiful feet,” says Deleur, “but what also stood out about Harrison was his humility and graciousness in class. He’s a beautiful soul to work with.”

Lee spent a week in London before the competition taking classes at the Royal Ballet School. He did some sightseeing – Harry Potter World, even though he’s not a great fan of the boy wizard – but mostly it was business. It’s the same at home: he takes two hours of ballet every day at the McDonald College, and three more hours every day after school. His diet “is not as strict as the girls” but he watches what he eats. He points out, humbly, that teachers Josephine Jason, Jane Kesby and Allan Cross have sacrificed as much as he has for his success.

The goal, Lee says, is to become the principal dancer at a company so that “I can dance as many lead roles as I can”. He’s not being unrealistic. Following his successful 12 months, Lee now has his choice of schools: by September he will be living in New York and attending the American Ballet Theatre, or in London at the Royal Ballet, or anywhere else he chooses to attend in Europe. Recruiters are clamouring.

“It’s weird to think at 16 I will be on the other side of the world, living by myself and cooking and cleaning and washing up,” says Lee. “It’s scary, but it’s what I’ve been training for.”

For mother Cindy, a travel agent, the prospect of Harrison moving is bittersweet. The family delights in his success – his brother skipped schoolies to go to Switzerland and watch Harrison compete; Cindy gets giddy recalling how Li Cunxin (of Mao’s Last Dancer fame) told her he was looking forward to seeing her son dance.

“But it’s sad too to think of your child travelling so far away at such a young age,” she admits. “A lot of people probably don’t understand it – people who don’t have a child with a passion or dream and the talent don’t understand how you could see your child do that. We’re happy to see him reach his goals.”

And wherever Lee lands, mum will be visiting. A lot. “It will be a path well worn, I imagine,” she says.

via Ballet dancer Harrison Lee wins prestigious Prix de Lausanne prize.