American Repertory Ballet Presents 'FIREBIRD' at Raritan Valley Community College Tonight

American Repertory Ballet will present Firebird: Diaghilev Revisited at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg tonight, March 14, at 8:00pm. Before the performance, ticketholders can dine at Verve restaurant in Somerville for discounted prices.

Firebird, part of The Theatre at RVCC's Major Artists series, will feature an evening of ballets inspired by the 20th-century works of Sergei Diaghilev's revolutionary Ballets Russes: Artistic Director Douglas Martin's Firebird, set to a compelling score by Stravinsky; Martin's Rite of Spring, also set to music by Stravinsky; and Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun (L'après-midi d'un faune), set to Debussy's provocative score.

In his review of ARB's premiere of this program, Patrick Kennedy, dance critic for Broadway World, wrote that the evening is "a revisitation of the balletic past that was taut, nimble, and modern in about the right measure."

All the works on the program have been met with critical acclaim. Tony Angarano, dance critic for The Courant, says of Kirk Peterson's Afternoon of a Faun that the "movements seem like the natural expression of Debussy's heated music....a re-interpretation [with] stunning impact." Martin's Rite of Spring transports the original libretto of Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps - a story based on pagan ritual and sacrifice - to a competitive 1960's office environment. NJ dance critic Robert Johnson describes it as, "part sentimental tribute and part screwball comedy" which "avoids primitivist clichés and, in gender parity...manages to find a concept still radical enough to make audiences squirm." Just as Martin infused Rite of Spring with a feminist statement, he layers a gender twist onto the classic Firebird libretto. In his version of this classic Russian folk tale, the namesake character is portrayed by a male rather than a female dancer. Jerry Hochman of CriticalDance refers to the ballet as "visual dynamite."

"These Diaghilev-era ballets introduced western audiences eastern pageantry and lore and also to the artists that would go on to define art in the 20th century," ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin explains. "Exploring that history and expounding upon it is essential to the identity and personality of our work and our unique Firebird program."

Before the ballet, patrons can enjoy a discounted meal at Verve restaurant in nearby Somerville, NJ. Ticketholders can dine at Verve between 5:30pm and 7:30pm on March 14, 2015 and receive 20% off food items from the regular menu or a special 3-course prix fixe meal for just $40. Customers must present their ballet ticket or online purchase confirmation to receive this special Verve discount. Verve is located at 18 East Main Street in Somerville.



Diaghilev Revisited

March 14, 2015 at 8:00pm

The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College

118 Lamington Road

Tickets: $25, $35, 908.725.3420

Subscribers' packages are available for many Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available.

About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School - American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. Its rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields, Melissa Barak, Patrick Corbin, Trinette Singleton, and ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted the Jersey Arts People's Choice for "Favorite Dance Company" in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2015.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Under the direction of Mary Pat Robertson, Princeton Ballet School currently serves approximately 1,200 students, starting at age three, and includes a large open enrollment division for adults. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton and offers classes in ballet, modern dance, jazz, hip-hop, CardioBallet, and CoMBo - Conditioning for the Mind and Body. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet West and on Broadway.

The Access & Enrichment wing of American Repertory Ballet reaches out to the community not only through its DANCE POWER program and signature On Pointe series, but also with free programming, master classes, residencies, lecture demonstrations and School Time Matinees throughout the state. In 1984, American Repertory Ballet partnered with the New Brunswick Board of Education to create DANCE POWER. Today, it's the longest-running uninterrupted arts/community partnership in New Jersey. The legendary Gregory Hines was DANCE POWER's Honorary Chair for 18 years before his untimely passing in 2003. In 2001, Mr. Hines endowed a scholarship at Rutgers University that earmarks annual funds for a DANCE POWER student to attend the university.

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