Category Archives: Ballet

Inconcievable Hilarity at El Grande Circus de Coca Cola

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

circus

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Pepe Hernandez’ traveling circus may just be a posse of cast off children from his prior 5 marriages, he may have lost a few 3-ring trained animals while crossing the Mohave Desert, to heat stroke and lack of rations, yes the chupacabra is voraciously hungry, messy and running wild around town shredding costumes, tents and car paint in its wake, the choreography awkward, the acts inconsistent and the talent decidedly second-rate.

Then there’s the problem with 15-year-old “mui fuerte” Maria begging, flirting and falling in love with male guests for a green card in exchange for cooking, cleaning and a little something extra. Kittenish half-Swedish blonde bombshell Consuelo is suggestively (but oh so politely in front of the wives in attendance) inviting potential male agents back stage to talk about representation.  Never mind the half-wit drums, piano and accordion playing boys who can’t get anything right — although they try, they really, really try.

El Grande Circus de Coca Cola is the most inconceivable Spanish language only, spectacular “spectacular”, everything but the kitchen sink carnival motif revival, to play Hollywood Boulevard in as far back as probably anyone can remember.

Film aficionado Pepe Hernandez has finally arrived on a world tour, in Hollywood at the Skylight Theatre, bringing with him an almost razzle-dazzle mashup of variety show acts including knife throwing, magic tricks, fortune-telling, opera, ballet, a fearsome parody of Latino telenovela and a coup de gras performance of Las Flamenco Fleas from Barcelona.

flea circus

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And, in case anyone is interested he is also giving acting classes while in town. You can find a discount coupon in your

FootLights program.

FootLights program

(Yes really! Go check it out for yourself. It’s there on page 3!)

This show, with all its holes and dragging lulls in between all the “jazz” is so incredibly creative, so high-caliber designed, so astounding in performance there’s no way you won’t want to stay till the end!  The absolute highlights are the team-choreographed commercials made for their sponsor, American soda company, Coca Cola.  The final histrionic stunner however is the photographic replay of Pepe’s girls’ Quinceañera, a bona fide study in perfect physical comedy.

El Grande Circus de Coca Cola is a beautiful, colorful, glitterized, 80 minutes mess!

NOW PLAYING UNTIL AUGUST 23, 2015

Performances run Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3pm.

The Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027.

Tickets are $34.

Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://skylighttix.com

Find Them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ktcla
Twitter: @SkylightThtr

Cast: Paul Baird, Olivia Christina Delgado, Lila Dupree, Aaron Miller, and Marcelo Tubert
Production Credits:
Written by Ron House
Directed by Alan Shearman
John Iacovelli (Set Designer), Jeff McLaughlin (Light Designer), Tor Campbell (Choreographer), Sarah Figoten (Costume Designer), and Jeff Faeth (Props Designer)

So You Think You Can Dance on National Dance Day July 25?

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Continuing the tradition of last year’s ground-breaking alliance of the nation’s leading cultural organizations in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., National Dance Day is partnering with Eventbrite to help encourage Americans of all ages to incorporate dance into their lives.

The 6th annual National Dance Day will take place on Saturday, July 25 culminating with the Dizzy Feet Foundation’s Celebration of Dance Gala on August 1st in Los Angeles.  Leading the charge – and the routines – in L.A.  will be Nigel Lythgoe, Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Judge of the hit FOX TV show – “So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)”. 

The Music Center is also partnering with The Dizzy Feet Foundation for the fourth year in a row to present the all-day, free, West Coast dance extravaganza.  Dancers of all skill levels and ages are invited to join. 

Audiences will have the opportunity to participate and learn repertoire from some of Los Angeles’ best dance companies and enjoy interactive performances by some of the city’s the finest young dance talent including the San Pedro Ballet, which will showcase both its children’s group as well as its more advanced dancers, and also lead a demo at the event. 

In New York, Dancer/Choreographer and SYTYCD Judge Adam Shankman will lead the festivities in front of Lincoln Center’s iconic Revson Fountain, and will also be joined by SYTYCD All Star Alex Wong in teaching dancers of all ages and abilities various dance routines as part of the New York celebration of National Dance Day. 

This year’s celebration in Washington D.C. is in collaboration with the Kennedy Center’s 25/40 Celebration, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 40th anniversary of VSA. A variety of artists will headline the festivities at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, including Baakari Wilder, tap dancer famous for his Broadway role in Bring in da Funk, Bring in da Noise; Antoine Hunter, Deaf African American choreographer; Culture Shock, a D.C. based hip-hop crew; Evan Ruggiero, one-legged tap dancer, singer, and guitarist and AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed physically integrated companies, along with SYTYCD Season 9 Alumni Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer. More information can be found online at http://www.kennedycenter.org/calendar/event/ZPVAG.

As its official contribution to NDD, each year DFF produces and distributes instructional videos featuring dance routines for the public to learn. DFF encourages anyone and everyone to learn the routines and perform them on NDD.  DFF also encourages the public to submit videos of themselves performing the routines. Select videos may be included on SYTYCD and can be submitted via DFF’s Facebook page.  This year, DFF partnered with Eventbrite, the largest self—service global registration and events marketplace, to provide a place for anyone to create and promote their own NDD event. Those interested in creating a NDD event can visit Eventbrite to access an official NDD online event template and be featured in the nationwide 2015 NDD events directory. More information on how to become an official National Dance Day event can be found on DFF’s website.

National Dance Day

Celebrated each year on the last Saturday in July, National Dance Day raises awareness about and encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun, positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity. National Dance Day achieved national recognition when, in 2010, long-time proponent of healthy lifestyles, American congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, introduced a National Dance Day resolution to promote dance education and physical fitness.

Dizzy Feet

The Dizzy Feet Foundation was founded in 2009 by producer Nigel Lythgoe and director Adam Shankman, among others to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States.  The Dizzy Feet Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization. For more information, go to www.dizzyfeetfoundation.org.

Kennedy Center

 The Kennedy Center is the only U.S. institution that presents a free performance 365 days a year. Created in 1997 and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, the Millennium Stage features a broad spectrum of performing arts each day at 6 p.m. The Millennium Stage has hosted artists representing all 50 states, and has presented more than 15,000 artists in their Kennedy Center debuts. Since 1999, each night’s performance has been broadcast live over the Internet, and more than 4,430 of these performances have been digitally archived on the Kennedy Center’s website, www.kennedy-center.org

Ellison Ballet Celebrates 10 Years at Symphony Space NYC

Carlos-Stafford-Main-1254709434Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

Ellison Ballet

Year after year since its inception, the Ellison Ballet of New York has been on a upward trajectory.

May 15th and 16th performances clearly show a dynamic company that gets more and more professional on each outing, charming audiences with full-throttle energy, athleticism, and commitment.

As usual, the program highlights some of the fine moments from the classical repertory, and spiced this year with a few winning additions like Bournonville colorful and playful, Jockey Dance, staged crisply by Karina Elver, and the wild and breathtaking Khachaturian Waltz, that utilized the entire cast in a swirling gauzy delight.

But the bulk of the program was culled from a Giselle variation, Don Q, La Esmeralda, Flames of Paris, Paquita, and the like, and were uniformly performed with great energy, technical skill, and heart. From the outset, the dancers were well rehearsed and full of bright and clear talent.

A few dances stood out for their depth, quality, and astonishing delivery. Grand Pas Classique Pas De Deux, with the remarkable talented Juliette Bosco (even more noteworthy, is only 12), electrified, along with her able partner Theophilus Pilette. Bosco also displayed her considerable talents earlier in the progam in charming Harlequinade. The most striking feature about this young performer is her obvious stunning maturity and abundant confidence she brings to her roles. She possesses a dignity in her gaze, and a surity in her movements that is easily seen, and to be applauded. Pilette was a wonderful partner, who performed with a manly presence, and stuck the right balance in this very dramatic and exciting piece.

Carmen, staged by Ellison, to Bizet’s famous score was nothing if not a heart-thumping sexy, well-performed delight. Emily Neale was great fun as the strong-willed Carmen who takes what she wants and scorns the weak dogs who fall into her spell–a woman a man can’t resist, but nonetheless want to possess at their own peril. August Athuru Generalli danced Don Jose with an fine arc of development from stately military control, to broken man with superb clarity. Neale was truly outstanding in her gorgeous presence and seductiveness, and the two crackled the stage with their dangerous dance of death. The costumes, swirling caps, Escamillo (Kevin Zong), soldiers, and the huge cast of gypsies electrified the stage with fiery energy.

Ellison Ballet is the best they’ve ever been. The training and performance level is more and more professional, and it was a joy to see this great development through the years. We wish them all congratulations for a fine ten years, and best wishes to all these fine students, their developing careers, and to all the quality teaching offered at the school.

Inland Pacific Ballet presents Beauty and the Beast

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Beauty and the Beast Inland Pacific Ballet

Inland Pacific Ballet brings to life an authentic production of Beauty and the Beast.  Structured closer to the classic 1756 French fairytale La Belle et la Bête by French novelist Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, rather than mimicking its modern Disney musical counterpart, it is a delightfully, uncomplicated, much more adult and truer narrative.  

In its original 18th century form, Beauty and the Beast was actually a primer for young ladies facing the perils of marriage.  Your husband might seem to be a beast to you but it was your job to find something to like about him. “We’ve come a long way since then…” commented founder/directed Victoria Koenig in a pre-show jest, which garnered an instantaneous house-wide giggle.  But really in its essence the story of Beauty and the Beast, as an instructional or otherwise, universally speaks to our better selves and our willingness to look past surface and find the inner beauty of another person; in Beauty’s case, love and a fairytale marriage.

Opening a bit like a town hall meeting, the show was introduced by Arcadia’s mayor, followed by an unexpected mini-history lesson of the tale and of the ballet. In and of itself the ballet Beauty and the Beast is a rather modern creation, with a strung together musical score by composers, Shostakovich, Komzak, Dvorak, Chapi, Mendelssohn, Khachaturian, Grieg, Massenet, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Paine, and Glazunov, which although did not evince a particularly strong denouement did seamlessly and quite beautifully lead the ballet.  The first several minutes were devoted to an expressive and perfect balletic mime demonstration by dance veteran Jonathan Sharp who exampled the “language” of story ballet.

A mostly young company of dancers including some very adorable spindly fairies and roses there were initially some rough patches.  Many of the girls couldn’t keep their footing on the slippery floor.  By the second act however, the choreography and the comfort level for the performers ramped up for a gorgeous finish when by Beauty’s love the Beast turns into a Prince played by Cameron Schwanz, a sophisticated “cut above” talent for local stage, and ‘princely’ by all means. I personally shouted a Bravo, from the 5th row for his incredible technique, presentational skill and for giving Beauty (Meilu Zhai) the best part of himself as a partner, allowing her to thoroughly shine during the wedding scene finale.

There are no dancing tea cups but there are wolves, fairies and knomes aplenty. Suited for adults and children of all ages.  There are two more performances taking place in Riverside, CA today:

Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Box Office: (951) 779-9800

Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

Information & Tickets:  ipballet.org; tickets from $34 with senior/child/group discounts available

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Dance Camera West Presents Its 14th Annual Dance Media Festival

April 30 – May 5, 2015

Continuum-1

Venues in Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Westwood

Celebrating the vibrant art of dance, Dance Camera West (DCW) presents the 14th Annual Dance Media Festival, a public event incorporating dance explored through film and live performance. Taking place at various venues in Beverly Hills (UTA Screening Room), Downtown Los Angeles (MOCA, historic Palace Theatre, REDCAT), Hollywood (historic Egyptian Theatre), Santa Monica (Aero Theatre), and Westwood (Crest Theater, UCLA) from April 30 – May 5, 2015, this multi-disciplinary festival promises to offer something for everyone and will showcase many forms of dance including modern, post modern, world, tap, dance theater, ballet, hip-hop and practically all dance that has been captured on film in a way that is of quality and essential value. Over 30 films will be screened over the course of the Festival connecting diverse cultures and environments through the exploration of dance.

DCW aspires to awaken and infuse the public mainstream with a desire for critical creative programming. The vision of DCW is to present the visual language of dance on screen in a way that stretches the imagination and changes the way we think about dance.

tickets, Dance Camera WestFor more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.DanceCameraWest.org

Ticket Prices:  Free – $15; Festival Kickoff $75

Dance Media Festival Schedule:

Thursday, April 30 – Festival Kickoff, UTA Screening Room, Beverly Hills, Screenings, Cocktails and appetizers, 6:30pm, $75
Live dance performance from JacobJonas The Company: a project based creative company specializing in dance, content production, and arts education.

Escualo – USA, 2014, 4:00, Martin & Facundo Lombard (filmmakers); A powerful new piece from the Lombard Twins.
Dancing is Living: Benjamin Millepied
– France, 2014, 57:00, Louis Wallecan (filmmaker) – West Coast Premiere; This engaging documentary chronicles Benjamin Millepied (choreographer of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan), the newly appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet and founder of L.A. Dance Project, as a globe-trotting ambassador for dance: in rehearsal with his company in L.A., hanging out with Lil Buck, and sharing his ideas about life and dance. Q&A with Louis Wallecan, Filmmaker and James Fayette, Managing Director, LA Dance Project.

Friday, May 1 – Opening Night Shorts, The Palace Theatre, Downtown LA, 7pm, $15

A selection of top international short films and a live dance performance from JacobJonas The Company:
ME – A Story of a Performance – Finland, 2014, 7:30, Jopsu Ramu (filmmaker), Johanna Nuutinen (choreographer); We follow the performance from different perspectives: how it is perceived by the dancer, the audience and how it can be seen from an objective point of view as a mere code. U.S. Premiere

Cracks – Spain, 2013, 4:45; Alex Pachon (filmmaker/choreographer); Every sound generates a movement and every movement produces a sound. U.S. Premiere

Pas – Canada, 2014, 15:00, Frédérique Cournoyer-Lessard (filmmaker); The dance and the acrobatics deeply move between narrative plots and visual poetry. West Coast Premiere

Fuel for Thought – India/UK, 2014, 4:04, Michael Joseph (filmmaker); Choreographer Hemabharathy Palani’s response to Hip Hop artist Mikey J Asante’s track, creating striking imagery against large-scale outdoor scenery and intimate spaces in India.

AM/FM – USA, 2014, 4:45, Morgan Wise (filmmaker), Robert Moses (choreographer); A romantic afternoon car ride turns into a surprising physical contest when a young couple has to choose between two competing radio stations.

Gone – Iceland, 2014, 16:00; Helena Jonsdottir/Vera Solvadóttir (filmmakers); Who is living your life at the moment? Your guest is not always your guest… U.S. Premiere

Martiality, Not Fighting – China, 2012, 10:00, Marianne M. Kim/Cheng-Chieh Yu (filmmakers); A young Chinese dancer performs the role of conscientious objector.

Amandi – Spain, 2014, 7:00; Francesc SitgesSardà/Elisabet Prandi (filmmakers), Claudi Bombardó Oriol (choreographer); A full blend made of nature, woods and weird landscapes with two characters whom travel through that space in constant transformation trying to fit in, to blend in. US Premiere

Dance Camera West

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Saturday, May 2 (day)The Crest Theatre, Westwood

Program 1:  2:30pm; $15
I Was Within – USA, 2014, 9:46, Jenny Stulberg (filmmaker), Jenny Stulberg/Sebastian Grubb (choreographer); Examines the course of a relationship through the multi-faceted elements of love, loss, time, and identity.

Fall to Rise – USA, 2014, 92:00, Jayce Bartok (filmmaker), Catherine Cabeen (choreographer); Who Will Catch You When You Fall? A famous principal dancer injures her knee and attempts to settle into motherhood only to realize she has no identity without dance, and struggles to return with the help of an equally troubled former company dancer.

Program 2: Celebrating Technicolor 100th Anniversary; 4:30pm; $15
The Unfinished Dance – USA, 1947, 101:00, Henry Koster (filmmaker)
Meg, a young ballet student played with penetrating passion by Margaret O’Brien, grows distressed to learn that visiting prima ballerina Darina rather than the school’s top ballerina Bouchet (Cyd Charisse) will play the lead in “Swan Lake.” As a result of Meg’s actions, Bouchet remains a star unfettered by competition and Meg copes with guilt. Dance critic Debra Levine of arts•meme will lead a conversation with Technicolor senior executive Robert Hoffman highlighting the film’s majestic use of color cinematography on the occasion of 100 years of Technicolor films.

Saturday, May 2 (evening)The Aero Theatre, Santa Monica, 7:30pm, $11

I Hate Dancing – Canada, 2014, 2:17, Jo Roy (filmmaker/choreographer); The repulsive nature of dance as told through dance.

American Cheerleader – USA, 2014, 89:00, David Barba/James Pellerito (filmmakers), Hank Light/Jason Keogh (choreographers); Set in the competitive world of cheerleading, the journey of two high school teams vying for the coveted National High School Cheerleading Championship Title.

Sunday, May 3 (day)The Museum of Contemporary Art, Downtown LA

Israel Past and Future – 1pm; $15 (includes Museum admission)
Ze’eva Cohen: Creating a Life in Dance – USA, 2014, 32:00, Sharon Kaufman (filmmaker); Spanning 70 years, how an artist can survive in the dance world by carving out an independent path for herself. Featured artist: Ze’eva Cohen. West Coast Premiere

Glove Story – Israel, 2013, 38:00, Oren Shkedy (filmmaker), Dana Ruttenberg (choreographer); Explores the notion of personal space and the all-too-often invasion into it. It asks the question: what are the psychological, physical and social repercussions of treating borders as mere suggestions?

Renewal – USA/Israel, 2014, 40:00, Stacey Menchel Kussell (filmmaker); In their pioneering Eco-Arts village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the Vertigo Dance Company in performance and rehearsals, and their ecological pursuits including gray water recycling and permaculture. West Coast Premiere

Animate Life: Dance! – 3pm; $15 (includes Museum admission)

Choreography and Animation Technology Panel Discussion

Frank Gladstone,Gladstone Film; Peggy Holmes, Disney Toon Studios; and others tba

Illumination, education and examination, both contemporarily and historically, of the relationship between Animation and Dance through discussion and screenings.

Sunday, May 3 (evening) REDCAT, Downtown LA

Program 1 – 5:30pm; $15

CalArts Emerging Artists Competition

Jiri Kylian: Forgotten Memories – France, 2011, 52:00, Don Kent/Christian Dumais-Lvowski (filmmaker) – West Coast Premiere; World-renowned Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian, a singular artist whose vision has inspired dancers and choreographers around the globe. West Coast Premiere

Program 2 – 7:30pm; $15

Continuum – France, 2014, 9:15, Natalianne Boucher (filmmaker); Explores time and space through dance and animation techniques.

Born To Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity – USA, 2014, 82:00, Catherine Gund (filmmaker); Motley troupe of flyers and crashers, propelled by Elizabeth Streb’s edict that “anything too safe is not action,” these daredevils challenge the assumptions of art, aging, injury, gender, and human possibility. Breathtaking tale about the necessity of art, inspiring audiences hungry for a more tactile and fierce existence in the world.

Monday, May 4 – UCLA Moore Lecture Hall, Special Campus Screening, 6:30pm, Free
Migration
– Canada, 2015, 5:44, Marlene Millar (filmmaker), Sandy Silva (choreographer); Migratory journey of percussive dancers who rely on their hands, feet and sonic bodies to create a unique soundtrack as they move through water, wind and sand interpreting the preparation, departure, and flight of their collective journey. West Coast Premiere

Let’s Get the Rhythm: Life and Times of Miss Mary Mack – USA, 2014, 55:00; Irene Chagall (filmmaker); Celebrates the wondrous world of hand clapping games, a traditional genre that thrives on the playgrounds of large cities and in remote corners of the world. West Coast Premiere

Tuesday, May 5 (evening)Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood

4th Annual Dance-A- Long, 6:30pm, Free
Bring your dancing shoes, friends and family for a fun dance lesson prior to the screening from LA Dance Fit

Final Festival Screening – 7:30pm; $11

Dancing for my Havana – Italy/Cuba, 2015, 112:00, Claudio Del Punta (filmmaker), Yordan Mayedo Perez (choreographer), Q&A with lead dancer/actress/choreographer Nayara Nunez Oliva; Young Cuban dancers struggling to achieve fame and fortune on the world stage, while honoring their intense love for the people and creative energy they find only in their homeland. U.S. Premiere

Dance Camera West is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and developing the vibrant art of dance media. DCW connects diverse cultures and environments through its exploration of dance on screen, bringing hundreds of challenging and provocative films to Los Angeles from around the globe, effectively bridging the gap between the uniquely influential Los Angeles film community and the significant local dance populace.  To find out more visit: www.dancecamerawest.org

Tonia Barber, Dance Camera West Director, started her career as a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City and continued on to the Broadway stage by age 17. Her credits include “42nd Street” and original cast member of Tommy Tunes’ 9-time Tony winner “The Will Roger’s Follies.” Barber has staged and choreographed numerous plays, commercials and industrials including Budweiser, Salon Selects and Gillette as well as working with fashion giants Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. Barber’s first film endeavor started in New York by investing in the independent film Tumbleweeds, which was released worldwide by New Line after competing at Sundance in 1999. The next year Barber produced Interstate 84, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was sold worldwide. Barber then Executive Produced the racecar indie, QuattroNoza, which was in competition at Sundance 2003 and won best cinematography. After moving to Los Angeles 2003, Barber wrote, directed and produced the short film, RAW that premiered at Sundance 2005 and screened at the AFI FEST 2005.

 

Inland Pacific Ballet Celebrates It’s 20th Season with Beauty and the Beast

An Encore adaptation of this breathtaking fairy tale ballet.

Beauty-and-the-Beast
Southern California’s premiere professional ballet company, Inland Pacific Ballet (IPB), celebrating its 20th season, presents Beauty and the Beast, a full-length ballet based on the time honored fairy tale with 10 performances taking place from April 25 through May 16, 2015 in theaters within the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire.

Buy Tickets

A creative interpretation of this universal story of inner beauty, IPB’s encore presentation promises a visual feast full of romance and drama. Stunning sets, brilliant dancing, gorgeous costumes and a stirring musical score that will transport audiences to an enchanted fairy tale world filled with fanciful characters, a charming village, an enchanted forest and the Beast’s magnificent castle, all vividly illustrating the drama and romance of this beloved story and the transformative power of love.

Beauty, a young girl pure of heart, living at the edge of a mystical forest, when her father is accosted by a mysterious Beast after picking a single white rose from the Beast’s beloved garden. Imbued with magical powers, the rose is passed between Beauty, her father and the Beast, as Beauty offers herself in exchange for her father’s freedom, beginning a journey of love and transformation for both herself and the Beast.

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For choreographer Clinton Rothwell, the white rose represents both Beauty’s pure heart and the transformation that takes place in the story.

“Prompted by the tremendous response Beauty and the Beast received last season, we are thrilled to once again be bringing this beautiful ballet to southern California audiences, and for the first time, to the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside,” states Victoria Koenig, Artistic Director.

“Nothing quite compares with the magic and grandeur of a big, fully produced ballet, especially one with such a captivating story. With rehearsals already underway and our dancers in top form, we are seeing Beauty and the Beast come back to life. We are especially excited to be presenting our exquisite ballerina, Meilu Zhai, in her debut as Beauty.  Meilu’s special qualities of delicacy, inner strength, impeccable technique and utter charm make her irresistible in this role.”

The cast features brilliant young talent from southern California. IPB is delighted to have principal dancers Cameron Schwanz again dancing the role of the Beast, and Meilu Zhai, formerly with the National Ballet of China as Beauty.  Jonathan Sharp also returns in the role of Beauty’s Father.

The musical score for Beauty and the Beast was created by company choreographer Rothwell as a “sound collage” featuring compositions from many of the great classical composers such as Dimitri Shostakovich, Antonin Dvorak, Felix Mendelssohn, Jules Massenet, Sergei Prokofiev, Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky, and Alexandor Glazounov.

“Ballet is an extension of sound to me, it’s moving sculpture, but it has to go with the music. Everything has to fit together,” says choreographer Rothwell.

Award-winning set designer and scenic artist Daniel C. Nyiri designed the village, forest, garden and castle scenes that serve as backdrops for the jewel-toned costumes by designer Jeanne Nolden. Special masks for the Beast and a pack of menacing wolves were created by Bonnie Sinclair, who worked for many years with Maurice Sendak on projects including Where the Wild Things Are.

Tickets, start at $34 with senior/child/group discounts available online at ipballet.org.

Buy Tickets

Critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet, enjoying its 20th season, is a professional ballet company of national stature in the Inland Empire of Southern California. The Company is committed to producing exquisitely staged productions of full-length classic story ballets as well as presenting the best in contemporary choreography. Their large studio facility in Montclair also includes in-house costume and scenic departments. In addition, through creative marketing and an extensive Educational Outreach Program, Inland Pacific Ballet strives to introduce new audiences to the magic of ballet, and to make the experience more available and accessible to all. For more information visit their website.

Victoria Koenig, Artistic Director
Clinton Rothwell, Choreographer, Sound Collage Designer
Daniel C. Nyiri, Scenic Design
Jeanne Nolden, Costume Design
Bonnie Sinclair, Mask Design
Cameron Schwanz, Beast
Meilu Zhai, Beauty
Jonathan Sharp, Beauty’s Father

DATES: 

Saturday, April 25, 2015 – 1:00pm and 7:00pm
Sunday, April 26, 2015 1:00pm
Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, 450 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Box Office: (909) 607-1139

Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 1:00 & 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Lewis Family Playhouse, Victoria Gardens Cultural Center,
12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Box Office: (909) 477-2752

Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm
Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm
Arcadia Performing Arts Center, 188 Campus Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007
Box Office: (626) 821-1781

Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Fox Performing Arts Center, 3801 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Box Office: (951) 779-9800


Information & Tickets:  ipballet.org
; tickets from $34 with senior/child/group discounts available

 

No Magic at the Mariinsky for Cinderella

by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

Mariinsky Ballet, Cinderella

I imagined I was eight years old. I’m at Disneyland and it starts to rain. All the rides are closed except It’s A Small World. No Haunted House, no Pirates of the Caribbean, no Frontier Land, or Tomorrowland.  Mickey and Minnie are running around drenched looking for cover.

That’s about as much fun as I had with Alex Ratmansky’s Cinderella, Act 1. From great anticipation to this chilly interpretation of Cinderella.  No fun, no magic, no humor I could recognize. In this production, the evil stepsisters are actually attractive, well dressed, and are mostly graceful, except for when the dance teachers arrive, and they indicate akwardness here and there; however subtle the distinctions. Cinderella’s father is a drunk who stumbles home and asks Cinderella for money. I never knew young Cinderella, being a slave to her sisters, had a stash of money in a cookie jar. Then there is the problem of the indefinite gender of the four magical fairies representing the seasons; four men dressed in colorful cutout leotards with midriffs and various bandeau tops. Where the evil stepsisters are usually portrayed by men, and are funny, Ratmansky chooses to make the fairies cross-dressing creatures without humor. Tepid applause.

But the Mariinsky is one of the most famous, as well as oldest ballet companies in the world, and after 250 years they know a thing or two on how to put on a production. This Cinderella must be an exception, however, as it apparently comes under the heading of “perspectivism.”

Gratefully, they begin to redeem themselves in Act 11 as Ratmansky dazzles with the highlight of the evening–an exquisite pas de deux between the Prince and Cinderella at the Ball, danced with liquid energy by Nadezhda Batoeva and Vladimir Shklyarov. I at once thought of Fredrick Ashton’s balcony scene from Romeo and Julliet, with the similar evocative and soaring romantic music, and passionate choreography. It was splendidly done. Then once again later, the couple dance in the final act, reunited at last, as choreography, dancers, and music become an exceptional and glorious unity.

Ratmansky’s greatest ability is how he fluidly moves his dancers through space with surprising ideas, and musicality. The movements evenly connect and reconnect in brilliant patterns that are full of substance and delight.

But overall, the problem with this Cinderella is not in the choreography, the steps, the surprising and flowing transitions nor especially, the scintilating dancers with their always remarkablable beauty and technique–we’ve grown to expect this high quality. Rather, the  problem lies in the artistic direction. Being a narrative ballet, you’d expect a good story. Here, Act 1 is awful, Act 11 soars, and Act 111 is very mixed.  You get the impression that the story was an afterthought to the choreography, that humor was barely considered, that the acts don’t link up.

For all the world class talent onstage and in the pit, the overall affect was unevenness. For instance, when the Prince searches the world for a foot to fit the glass slipper, we have the dullest section immaginable. This is a blarring artistic opportunity to display fun, wonder, and lightness, to take the audience on a wondrous journey. But what we get again is another deflating transvaluaton. We are shown the Prince finding a group of women–who knows from where or representing what–oblique, probably hookers. Not much chance for a proper fitting here. Next stop, we encounter seven guys dressed in blue and black. They pummell the Prince and clearly don’t fit the slipper, or care–are they nasty gay thugs from Marseille with a shoe fetish? Or, are they merely emblematic of life’s negative forces? This part of the story was very strange and incomplete.

Sadly, these two meager stops represent the Prince’s entire search.  Dramatically, it should be a fun interlude for the audience before his final ecstatic discovery. Like Candide, what the Prince finds in his brief travel is bleak and cold. I guess this could be someone’s  joyless intepretation, but this sober, obscure, and disspirited meaning seems totally inappropriate in dance, perhaps not in literature–it leaches out any form of revelation or elevation to the fairy tale that occurs only moments later,  and lessens the joy of his return and final union.

Not until, that is, the last pas de deux that salvages the performance with its abundant life force; again magnificently performed by the two exceptional principals. This was the fireworks, this was the glory.

But as for the Prince, at that point, he could’ve have settled for a stepsister.

BAM and the MARIINSKY BALLET present

CINDERELLA
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gillman Opera House

Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
Musical direction by Valery Gergiev
Conducted by Valery Gergiev

Principal casting*:

Diana Vishneva/Konstantin Zverev/Yekaterina Kondaurova (Jan 17), Anastasia Matvienko/Alexander Sergeyev/Anastasia Petushkova (Jan 18),
Nadezhda Batoeva, Vladimir Shklyarov, Ekaterina Kondaurova (Jan 20)

NO MORE PERFORMANCES