Music Center of LA Announces Dance At Music Center Series

May 1
3:16 2008

The Music Center of Los Angeles County announces the sixth season of the Dance at the Music Center series. The season opens with the return of Miami City Ballet led by Artistic Director Edward Villella, performing the much anticipated, West Coast premiere of NIGHTSPOT a Twyla Tharp and Elvis Costello collaboration, October 24-26. Known for her innovation and creativity, Twyla Tharp has created some of the most memorable dances in modern repertory.  Elvis Costello, whose adventurous musical talents make him one of the most revered artists of our time, provides an original musical composition intertwined with various motifs and quotations from existing songs.  Also on this program are Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy and George Balanchine's Tarantella and Symphony in Three Movements.

The season continues with a special, limited engagement of Kirov Ballet's The Nutcracker, under the Artistic Direction of Valery Gergiev and Director of the Ballet Makhar Vaziev, December 17 to 20, 2008, to celebrate the holiday season for six performances only.  The choreography is by Vasily Vainonen.

Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater, celebrating its 50th anniversary, returns March 18-22, marking the company's fifth visit to the Music Center. Led by Artistic Director Judith Jamison and Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya, a highlight of Ailey's 50th anniversary celebration will be the eagerly anticipated collaboration with Sweet Honey In The Rock (performing live on Opening Night.) All programs include the inspirational Revelations.

Ballet Hispanico, led by Artistic Director Tina Ramirez, presents an evening of repertory work at the Ahmanson Theatre June 5-7, 2009, that fuses ballet, modern and Latin dance forms into a spirited representation of contemporary Latino culture.  Later that same month, Nederlands Dans Theater I, led by Artistic Director Anders Hellström, will offer a program featuring Ji_í Kylián's Wings of Wax and Shoot the Moon by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion June 26-28, 2009.

Following sold-out performances this year, American Ballet Theatre, America's National Ballet Company®, led by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, returns with Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet for five performances July 16 -19, 2009. This marks ABT's fifth engagement in the six seasons of Dance at the Music Center.

Renae Williams, Director of Dance Presentations said, "We are thrilled to have audiences join us as we celebrate our sixth season of dance presentations filled with audience favorites and exciting debuts.  Miami City Ballet, Kirov Ballet and Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater, will all be returning to our series this season. Miami City Ballet will perform the West Coast premiere of NIGHTSPOT, Twyla Tharp's latest work, set to the music of Elvis Costello.  Kirov Ballet will usher in the holiday season in grand style, with their opulent production of The Nutcracker. Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater marks its 50th anniversary of bringing African-American cultural expression and the American modern dance tradition to the world's stages. Both Ballet Hispanico and Nederlands Dans Theater I will be making their Music Center debuts. Finally, we welcome back one of the pillars of our series -- American Ballet Theatre.  As we welcome them to the Music Center for the seventeenth time, we celebrate the company, which defines ballet not just for us, but for the entire nation."

All performances will be at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, except Ballet Hispanico, which will perform at the Ahmanson Theatre.

To receive season ticket information, please call (213) 972-0711 or visit

Single tickets will become available on August 1st at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office, 135 North Grand Avenue. At that time, single tickets will also be available through Ticketmaster Phone Charge at 213/365-3500 or 714/740-7878, online at, and at all Ticketmaster Outlets.

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Companies of the Dance at the Music Center 2008-2009 Season
Please note programs are subject to change.

Miami City Ballet

West Coast Premiere
NIGHTSPOT choreography by Twyla Tharp
Music by Elvis Costello

Symphony in Three Movements choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Igor Stravinsky

Liturgy choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
Music by Arvo Pärt

Tarantella choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk

October 24-26, 2008
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Miami City Ballet performs the West Coast premiere of NIGHTSPOT, a Twyla Tharp and Elvis Costello collaboration.

Known for her innovation and creativity, Twyla Tharp has created some of the most memorable dances in modern repertory.  Elvis Costello, whose adventurous musical talents make him one of the most revered artists of our time, provides an original musical composition intertwined with various motifs and quotations from existing songs. NIGHTSPOT features costumes designed by famed fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Also on this program are Christopher Wheeldon's Liturgy and George Balanchine's Tarantella and Symphony in Three Movements.

Miami City Ballet is among the largest ballet companies in the United States, with 55 dancers - and has four home counties in South Florida: Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach, and Collier on Florida's west coast, where MCB is the resident company at the Naples Philharmonic Center.  In addition to its Repertory Series, MCB performs "George Balanchine's The NutcrackerTM" annually in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach Counties, and Clearwater.  Miami City Ballet's inaugural performance was on October 17, 1986, at Miami's Gusman Center for the Performing Arts

Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella was the first American-born male star of the New York City Ballet (1957-1975); his career established the male's role in classical dance in the United States.  Mr. Villella's vision and style for the Company is based on the techniques established by choreographer George Balanchine. In 1997, Mr. Villella received the highest and most prestigious cultural honor that can be bestowed upon an artist by the United States, the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Clinton. Also in 1997, he was named a Kennedy Center Honoree and was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. In 2003 Miami City Ballet premiered Mr. Villella's four-act ballet, "The Neighborhood Ballroom."

The Company's repertoire includes 97 ballets, including 13 world premieres. It includes George Balanchine masterworks, most notably "Prodigal Son," "Apollo," "Agon," and the full-evening "Jewels," and works by contemporary choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, and Trey McIntyre.  Ballets by Frederick Ashton, Petipa, Bournonville, Edward Villella, and others also highlight the repertoire.  The Company repertoire also includes classical works such as "Giselle" and "Coppélia."

The dancers of Miami City Ballet are an international mix. The Company's 55 dancers have come to MCB from Boston Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Caracas, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet of Belgium, and from world-famous training facilities such as the School of American Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Schools of the Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others.

Miami City Ballet has toured all over the United States. National performances include The Kennedy Center, the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta, Wolf Trap Farm Park, Orange County (CA) Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Shubert Theater (CT), McCarter Theater (NJ), SUNY at Purchase, ArtPark, and the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts.  Internationally, MCB has performed in Europe, Great Britain, South America, Central America, and Israel, including the 1994 & 1995 Edinburgh International Festivals (Scotland), the 1990 Lyon Biennale Internationale de la Danse (France), the Festival Internacionel de Cultura Paiz (Guatemala), and a two-week engagement at the Torino Danza 2000 Festival (Italy).

MCB was the seventh & final major American dance company to receive a Kennedy Center Ballet Commission; choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett created "Mystery of the Dancing Princesses," which premiered at The Kennedy Center in April 1995.

In January 2000, Miami City Ballet took occupancy of its own Miami Beach headquarters, the Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center, achieved through a Capital Campaign begun in 1997. The 63,000 square foot facility houses eight rehearsal studios (two of which combine to create a 200-seat theater), increased
school facilities, MCB's wardrobe department and costume shop, a fully-equipped therapy room, and increased administrative space. The building was designed by the award-winning architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of ARQUITECTONICA.

The Miami City Ballet School, which opened in Miami Beach in January 1993, trains students for  professional careers in ballet. The School has an enrollment of 350 students, and no child of talent is turned away for lack of funds. In June 1997, Miami City Ballet accepted the first School graduate for a professional position. The School launched the Miami City Ballet School Summer Program in July 2001.

Kirov Ballet
The Nutcracker
Choreography by Vasily Vainonen (1934) Music by Peter Tchaikovsky
December 17-20, 2008
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

The 200-year-old Kirov Ballet, under the Artistic Direction of Valery Gergiev since 1988, and Director of the Ballet Makhar Vaziev is one of the world's most renowned ballet companies.  It performs the beloved, family holiday classic The Nutcracker, accompanied by live orchestra, in a production filled with wonderment and child-like delight, dazzling audiences for 6 performances only.   The choreography, from 1934, is by Vasily Vainonen.

St. Petersburg ballet is the collective result of the work of many years and many people within the Mariinsky Theatre. St. Petersburg ballet is almost as old as the city itself, and these centuries are made up of different epochs.  In the 19th century, St. Petersburg ballet mainly spoke French.  The century was split between the French choreographers Charles-Luois Didelot, Jules Perrot, Arthur Saint-Leon and Marius Petipa.  Their Mecca was Paris, their tastes were cultivated by the Academy of Dance and the Grand Opera.  St. Petersburg was the place where the harsh rules of an alien order receded, the rigid French school of dance being softened by the rhythmical Russian tendency towards sloth and the open vowels of the Russian language. These choreographers settled at the theatre for lengthy period, almost as if they were at home. "This is paradise!" exclaimed the young Petipa when he first came out of the Russian theatre director's office.

"Ballet Petersburg," the "St. Petersburg of ballet" was born - the same intangible, but indisputable phenomenon of cultural geography as the "St. Petersburg of Dostoevsky." And just as the "St. Petersburg of Dostoevsky" took shape in the form of Crime and Punishment or White Nights, so the "St. Petersburg of ballet" was represented by "The Sleeping Beauty," "Raymonda" and "La Bayadere."

In the 20th century, ballet spoke only in Russian.  The century began with Michel Fokine's modernist revolution, and the 1920s saw the explosive burst of Fyodor Lopukhov's avant-garde. Later, high-level politics helped to suppress this influence: the country was fenced off from the world by the Iron Curtain. This was a death knell for many arts.  But Leningrad ballet was able to maintain its high artistic standards, having become the focus of spiritual life for people of the time and even a unique kind of cultural Fronde.  Petipa's ballets, the "gold reserves" of Russian choreography, remained as a source of nourishment for the greatest Soviet choreographers of pre-war Leningrad - Leonid Lavrovsky, Vasily Vainonen and Vakhtang Chabukiani. The grandiose dramatic ballets of pre-war Leningrad - "Romeo and Juliet," "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai," "Laurencia" and "Flame of Paris" - would not have been possible without 19th century ballet. Promoted by Soviet choreographers, only "psychological realism" was new.  It had the effect of a magic spell for whole acuity and acting talents of Galina Ulanova, Tatiana Vecheslova, Alla Shelest, Konstantin Sergeyev, and the multitude of second and third rank dancers.

The whole company of the then Kirov Theatre was striking, from the ballerinas down to the last line of the corps de ballet. At the same time, first-class virtuoso dancers such as Natalia Dudinskaya, Feya Balabina, Vakhtang Chabukiani and Nikolay Zubkovsky permitted Leningrad ballet to preserve the glory of the most important Russian temple of classical dance.

The "new wave" of ballet evolved from a dispute, but to a still greater degree from the dialogue with the dramatic ballets of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The leading figures of the "new wave" were the young choreographers Yuri Grigorovich and Igor Belsky and the dancers Alla Osipenko, Irina Kolpakova, Gabriela Komleva, Yuri Solovyev, Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Marakova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The "fathers" were referred to as "dramatic ballet" and the rebellious "children" as "symphonic ballet", but the combined tradition of succession preserved its power over both.

At the end of the 20th century, it learned to speak in English.  Leningrad ballet once more started calling itself St. Petersburg ballet, but this time it went forth into the world.  It started to perform works by 20th century Western choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Kenneth MacMillan, Roland Petit, Anthony Tudor and John Neumeier which had previously been inaccessible, neglected during the years of forced Soviet isolation. But the main development is connected with the Russian-American choreographer George Balanchine: today, the repertoire of the Mariinsky Theatre contains almost as many ballets by Balanchine as by Petipa.

Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater

March 18-22, 2009
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

This year Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater (AAADT), America's cultural ambassador to the world, marks its 50th anniversary of bringing African-American cultural expression and the American modern dance tradition to the world's stages.

A highlight of Ailey's 50th anniversary performances will be the eagerly anticipated collaboration with Sweet Honey In The Rock.  Performing live onstage (opening night only) with the incomparable Ailey dancers, the Grammy Award-winning female a cappella ensemble will match their soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms to company member Hope Boykin's powerful choreography.

Each performance will open with the showing of a short film, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 50 - A Golden Anniversary Celebration commemorating the rich 50-year history of this internationally renowned dance company. Program A features the Southern California premiere of a new work with music by Sweet Honey In The Rock.  All programs include the inspirational Revelations.

In 1958, Alvin Ailey led a group of young black modern dancers in a performance in New York City that changed forever the perception of American dance.  During those early years, the Company traveled across the country on what were known as the "station wagon tours."  In 1962, the Company embarked on an extensive tour of the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedy's "President's Special International Program for Cultural Presentations", the first of many state department tours and significant international engagements.

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