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News Section: Arts and Entertainment

The Sarasota Ballet Presents An Evening Inspired by Balanchine

Published Tuesday, November 12, 2013 12:02 am

SARASOTA –  The Sarasota Ballet will honor one of the most influential ballet figures in America, George Balanchine this month, with a program featuring two of the legendary choreographer’s most popular works. Credited with bringing classical ballet into the modern era, while establishing the New York City Ballet, Serende and Who Cares? will highlight the November 22 and 23 performances at the Sarasota Opera House.

Also included in the triple bill will be a performance of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations, a ballet Balanchine commissioned Ashton to create specifically for the New York City Ballet. All three performances are set to live music performed by the Sarasota Orchestra.

Balanchine’s Serenade will open the program. Celebrated as the ballet that changed everything, Serenade was the first original ballet Balanchine created in America – paving the way for classical ballet to become an American art form. Set to the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a composer that Balanchine used in many of his ballets, this ballet was described by Balanchine as, “… dancers in motion to a beautiful piece of music. The only story is the music’s story, a serenade, a dance in the light of the moon.”
Ricardo Graziano, Ellen Overstreet and Amy Wood in Sir Frederick Ashton's Illuminations. Photo: Frank Atura.

Serenade is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful ballets there is,” said Iain Webb, director of The Sarasota Ballet. “I am thrilled to bring it back to the Sarasota audiences.”

Second in the program lineup is Sir Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations, a ballet set to Benjamin Britten’s 1939 arrangement of Les Illuminations, based on selected poems by Arthur Rimbaud. Ashton, who rarely worked outside of Britain’s Royal Ballet, created this piece specifically for the New York City Ballet in 1950, and the ballet’s tone reflects the dark and destructive nature of Rimbaud’s poems. In 1981 Illuminations was performed by The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, London.

“As a Company premiere, opening night of this performance will be especially exciting,” said Webb. “However, what makes it particularly special is that opening night lands on what would be Benjamin Britten’s 100 birthday.”

Balanchine’s exuberant Who Cares? will close the program. This vibrant ballet utilizes 17 Broadway inspired songs composed by George Gershwin. These songs include: Strike Up the Band, Sweet and Low Down, Somebody Loves Me, Bidin’ My Time, ‘S Wonderful, That Certain Feeling, Do Do Do, Lady Be Good, The Man I Love, Build a Stairway to Paradise, Embraceable You, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Who Cares?, My One and Only, Liza and I Got Rhythm. Featuring ensembles, solos, duets, quartets and quintets, the sassy and colorful energy of this New York City inspired performance is nothing short of lively and fun.

“Program Two, while it has an underlining theme of Balanchine, is extremely diverse when it comes to the types of ballets being performed,” explained Webb. “It’s always my goal to give our audiences something to look forward to and I’m positive that this lineup has done just that.”

Not only will Program Two offer audiences a chance to see three diverse ballets, but the Program will also help benefit Equality Florida. As the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, the Company has donated one hundred tickets to the organization and they will receive 100 percent of the profit from those sales.

Tickets may be purchased online 24 hours a day, seven days a week with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. The box office can be contacted by calling (941) 359-0099 x101.


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