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Segerstrom Center for the Arts Presents the Hamburg Ballet's THE LITTLE MERMAID, Now thru 2/10

Segerstrom Center's International Dance Season continues tonight, February 8 - 10 with the return of Hamburg Ballet performing its hauntingly compelling production of The Little Mermaid.

This will be the company's exclusive Southern California engagement and the Southern California premiere of the ballet. It is based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen with direction and choreography by John Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet's director and chief choreographer. This sophisticated interpretation of the classic story delves into the deeper themes of conflicted love and loss. Featuring an original commissioned score by renowned composer Lera Auerbach, Neumeier's contemporary version of The Little Mermaid explores two divergent worlds: the serenity and simplicity of underwater life and the complex, often absurd, lives of humans.

Inspired in part by traditional Japanese theater, Neumeier's vision features striking costumes and dramatic scenery. He interweaves the story with elements of Andersen's biography, making the writer a figure in the ballet. The Mermaid's feelings and her tragic destiny become a reflection of Andersen's own longing. As she travels through both her own world and that of humans, enduring torment because of her committed love for a prince, in the end, the Mermaid discovers her own strength.

Tickets for Hamburg Ballet start at $25 and are available online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling 714-556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at 714-755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. Free Preview Talks will occur one hour prior to each performance. Tonight's February 8 Preview Talk will be sign-language interpreted. Artists and program are subject to change.

Since 1973, American-born John Neumeier has been director and chief choreographer of Hamburg Ballet and "Ballettintendant" since 1996. Under his direction, Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies of the German dance scene and quickly received international recognition. As a choreographer, Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. His latest creations for the Hamburg Ballet, Purgatorio and Liliom, premiered in 2011.

The Little Mermaid was commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet to commemorate the 200th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. It premiered in Copenhagen on April 15, 2005. In 2007, Neumeier created a revised version for his own company, the Hamburg Ballet, and the score was completely reworked by Lera Auerbach. The current touring production is based on adaptations made by Hamburg Ballet. In 2010, The Little Mermaid, premiered by San Francisco Ballet, was first performed on the American continent and made its Russian debut at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre in 2011. In 2012, the production will premiere at the National Ballet of China.

The Center's International Dance Series is made possible by: Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances with special underwriting from William J. Gillespie. Classical KUSC is the Media Partner and COAST Magazine is Print Media Sponsor of the International Dance Series. The Center applauds Acura, the Official Automotive Sponsor of the Center.

Photo Credit: Holger Badekow


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