THIS WEEK'S TOP BALLET NEWS
● United Ukrainian Ballet Makes U.S. Debut at Kennedy Center
● American Repertory Ballet Performs The Nutcracker in New Jersey
● ABT to Host Panel with Creatives Behind Lifted
● Dutch National Ballet Tours Works by Three Leading Choreographers
United Ukrainian Ballet Makes U.S. Debut at Kennedy Center
Marking its only engagement in the United States, the United Ukrainian Ballet will perform Alexei Ratmansky’s Giselle at the Kennedy Center from February 1-5, 2023. This occasion also celebrates the premiere of Ratmansky’s version of this epitome of romantic ballet – created specifically for the dancers of United Ukrainian Ballet – in the U.S.
“I am delighted that the United Ukrainian Ballet is to perform Giselle at the Kennedy Center.” stated Ratmansky. “When we started this project in April, we had nothing but goodwill and determination. Since then this Company of refugees has performed across the Netherlands and to great acclaim at the London Coliseum. Our purpose has been fourfold: to preserve Ukraine’s long history of ballet culture; to give meaningful employment to dancers till the war is won; to entertain the public; and finally, to keep public support for Ukraine through giving a personal emotional experience. The USA has led the world in its support for Ukraine. It seems only right that the United Ukrainian Ballet should perform in the nation’s capital.”
The company is composed of dancers in exile from their national theaters in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and other cities affected by the ongoing war in the region. Led by Artistic Director Igone de Jongh, it is based in The Hague, Netherlands, at the former Royal Conservatoire building, where they live and work through the generous support of local business and the government.
The principal cast for Giselle will include guest artist Christine Shevchenko, principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, and others to be announced at a later date.
American Repertory Ballet Performs The Nutcracker in New Jersey
The Garden State will not go for lacking a Nutcracker performance this season thanks to American Repertory Ballet‘s regional tour of the holiday favorite. Ballet lovers will be able to see Artistic Director Ethan Steiefel’s company perform in Princeton, Trenton, or New Brunswick between November 25 and December 18.
“The Nutcracker ballet is a local and national holiday custom for families and seasoned ballet fans alike. It is no surprise that the charm, excitement, and wonder of the production continues to be a part of our communities’ annual holiday plans and an ideal way to celebrate the season,” says Stiefel.
American Repertory Ballet will collaborate with the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey for the first time. Led by conductor Daniel Spalding, these professional artists will be joined by the Trenton Children’s Chorus for one performance only at the Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial (Trenton).
Performances at State Theatre New Jersey (New Brunswick) will feature live music played by the ARB Orchestra, this year led by Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s Georg and Joyce Albers-Schonberg Assistant Conductor Kenneth Bean, and accompanied by the Princeton Girlchoir.
Executive Director Julie Diana Hench adds, “Each performance of The Nutcracker is unique, from the extraordinary dancing and scenic treats onstage, to the magical sounds of the orchestra and singers. Families can also take pictures with cast members in the lobby and visit The Nutcracker boutique for specialty gifts, maybe even enjoy some hot cocoa at intermission. For almost 60 years, families have been delighted by this beloved production and making wonderful memories together. We invite audiences of all ages to join in the fun!”
ABT to Host Panel with Creatives Behind Lifted
Directly after the matinee performance of Lifted on October 29, cultural anthropologist and former Ailey II dancer Aimee Meredith Cox will moderate a panel composed of the ballet’s creative team. Choreographer Christopher Rudd, American Ballet Theatre Dancers Calvin Royal III and Courtney Lavine, Fashion Designer Carly Cushnie, Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Carlos Simon, and Conductor Roderick Cox will “create a forum to bring attention to the landmark nature of Rudd’s ballet and what it means for younger generations of dancers of color to see themselves represented on stage in this monumental way.”
Also on the afternoon’s performance program are Jessica Lang’s Children’s Songs Dance and Jiří Kylián’s Sinfonietta.
Dutch National Ballet Tours Works by Three Leading Choreographers
Beginning November 9, Dutch National Ballet will travel the Netherlands performing a program of works by three of ballet’s most recognized choreographers celebrating the craft’s past, present, and future.
Opening the program is George Balanchine‘s The Four Temperaments which explores four different humors set to Paul Hindemith’s music. Next up is Hans van Manen’s Frank Bridge Variations, a piece composed of nine sections with dancers in solos, duets, and groups moving to Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Looking toward up and coming young choreographers, Juanjo Arqués’ Manoeuvre, which was created for the company in 2020 during lockdown, will close the program.
Photo Credits: 1) United Ukrainian Ballet in Alexei Ratmansky’s Giselle. Photo by Altin Kaftira; 2) American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Leighton Chen; 3) Calvin Royal III in Christopher Rudd’s Lifted. Photo: Karolina Kuras; 4) Dutch National Ballet dancers Davi Ramos and Elisabeth Tonev © Marta Syrko