Segerstrom Center for the Arts President Casey Reitz and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett announced the naming of America’s National Ballet Company as the Official Dance Company of one of the country’s most prominent performing arts centers.
The three year designation begins in December 2021 with ABT’s annual engagement of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker.
“We are proud to designate the renowned American Ballet Theatre as the Official Dance Company of Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This partnership reflects the extended history and long-term commitment between Segerstrom Center for the Arts and ABT, a company that has graced our stage and entertained patrons with exciting and inspiring performances since 1987. The Center is committed to these premieres because we recognize each has been beautifully and uniquely crafted to provide enjoyment to dance audiences throughout Southern California for many years to come.” says Casey Reitz.
Segerstrom and ABT’s relationship began years ago in 1988 with the production of the world premiere of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Swan Lake. Other performances include:
⦿ 1999 – the ABT production of Le Corsaire was taped for broadcast on PBS’s Dance in America, winning an Emmy Award;
⦿ 2003 – The Dream was also taped at the Center for broadcast on Dance in America;
⦿ 2008 – ABT co-commissioned Twyla Tharp’s Rabbit and Rogue with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which received its World Premiere in New York and its West Coast Premiere at the Center;
⦿ 2007 – the West Coast Premiere of Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie’s production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2007;
⦿ 2015 – the World Premiere of a new production of Firebird by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, and three additional ballets by Ratmansky including the West Coast premiere of The Nutcracker;
⦿ 2017 – the World Premiere of Whipped Cream;
⦿ 2019 – the West Coast Premiere of Harlequinade;
⦿ 2020 – the World Premiere and co-commissioned production Of Love and Rage;
⦿ 2021 – Uniting in Movement, a unique dance project bringing 18 ABT dancers together for safe collaboration with new works by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette, and Darrell Grand Moultrie.
“American Ballet Theatre’s mission calls us to preserve the classics and extend the repertoire of classical ballet,” says Kara Medoff Barnett, ABT Executive Director. “As the Official Dance Company of Segerstrom Center, ABT brings both the beloved classics and exciting new works to Southern California audiences. With talented students at the ABT William J. Gillespie School and enthusiastic audiences, Orange County offers ABT’s artists the warmest of welcomes.
Segerstrom Center’s leadership recognizes the importance of innovation, inclusion, and invention to the future of the art form.”
The three-year partnership between ABT and Segerstrom Center for the Arts will include three premiere works, beginning March 2022 – a mixed repertory program to include a World Premiere by Alonzo King and West Coast Premieres of Ratmansky’s Bernstein in a Bubble and Lang’s ZigZag.
In March 2023, American Ballet Theatre will give the North American Premiere of Like Water for Chocolate at the Center by Christopher Wheeldon.
Laura Esquivel, author of the famous novel, comments, “Having Christopher and his team transform my story into a ballet is truly magical for me. It was a great pleasure to have them visit Mexico for extensive research and to develop the scenario together. I am amazed at how Christopher can translate deep emotions into movement, and I can’t wait to see this wonderful creative adventure unfold.”