MIAMI CITY BALLET Makes Its Chicago Debut at the Auditorium Theatre 10/2-4
The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU, 50 E. Congress Parkway) proudly opens its 2009 - 2010 Dance Series and kicks off its 120th Anniversary celebration with the Chicago debut of the internationally captivating Miami City Ballet Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. Under the artistic direction of celebrated dancer Edward Villella, Miami City Ballet has thrilled audiences around the world with its "superhuman" dancers and a broad repertoire of classic and contemporary works. ATRU also hosts its Annual Gala Benefit on opening night (Oct. 2) with a pre-performance reception and dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. at The Standard Club (320 S. Plymouth Court) and a delightful post-show dessert party in ATRU's main lobby. Show and gala tickets are now on sale.
Founded in 1985 by Toby Ansin and current Artistic Director Edward Villella, today Miami City Ballet is one of the largest dance companies in the United States with more than 40 dancers from throughout the world. According to Alastair Macauley of The New York Times, "To watch [Miami City Ballet] dance Balanchine is to see aspects of his choreography more clearly than with any other company today." For its Chicago debut at the Auditorium Theatre, the company performs George Balanchine's "Symphony in Three Movements" and "Valse Fantaisie 1953;" the "Black Swan Pas De Deux" from the classic "Swan Lake" choreographed by Marius Ivanovich Petipa; and "In the Upper Room" by Twyla Tharp.
"Symphony In Three Movements," choreographed by George Balanchine for the opening night of the New York City Ballet's 1972 Stravinsky Festival, contains some of Balanchine's most densely patterned dance. It is a large plotless ensemble work, startling in its breadth of energy, complexity, originality and contrasts. Balanchine choreographed to the jazz flavor in Igor Stravinsky's 1945 score using angular, turned-in movements and brisk, athletic walking sequences. Stravinsky is said to have written "Symphony in Three Movements" based on his impressions of World War II.
"Valse Fantaisie 1953" features Balanchine's often-used concept of the "one man, three woman" arrangement of dancers and dynamics. This concept led him to place his "danseur noble" among three equally compelling women, rather than opposite one or torn between two. Choreographed to Glinka's "Valse Fantaisie in B minor," this piece displays Balanchine's attention to detail and the nuances of accent and phrasing within the parameters of the waltz rhythm of the score. The classically beautiful and original images that Balanchine creates give further life to a lesson he learned while creating the ballet "Apollo:" he could "leave things out" and less could be more.
The notable "Black Swan Pas De Deux" from Petipa's beloved "Swan Lake" (music by Tchaikovsky) is an audience favorite recognized around the world as a testament to dancer artistry and technical skill.
"In the Upper Room" is one of renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp's signature dances. It is recognized as a contemporary masterpiece filled with power, energy and speed. Featuring music by Philip Glass, "In the Upper Room" creates a dramatic, nearly religious and hypnotic experience.
Long before establishing Miami City Ballet, Edward Villella, founding artistic director and chief executive officer, had been recognized as one of the greatest male ballet dancers in America. Villella entered the School of American Ballet in 1945 at age 9, but later interrupted his dance training to complete his academic studies. He entered the New York Maritime Academy in 1952, won a welterweight boxing championship in 1953, and lettered in baseball. Villella graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor's degree in marine transportation, and returned to the School of American Ballet shortly following his graduation.
In 1957 Villella was invited to join the acclaimed New York City Ballet, where he was quickly promoted to soloist (1958) and then principal dancer (1960). He was the original male lead in many important ballets in New York City Ballet's repertoire, such as "Tarantella," the Rubies section of "Jewels," "Symphony in Three Movements," "Dances at a Gathering," "Watermill," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Oberon). Perhaps his most famous role was in the 1960 revival of Balanchine's 1929 masterpiece "Prodigal Son."