Photo Flash: The Sarasota Ballet to present METROPOLITAN Next Month
The Sarasota Ballet's second production of the Season, Metropolitan, will open on December 1 at the Sarasota Opera House, with a triple bill by Sir Frederick Ashton, Marcelo Gomes and George Balanchine. For these performances The Sarasota Ballet will be accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra under the baton of American Ballet Theatre Music Director Ormsby Wilkins.
Opening the program is Sir Frederick Ashton's Illuminations, choreographed on New York City Ballet in 1950; followed by a World Premiere by Marcelo Gomes, Principal Dancer with American Ballet; and closing the program is the Company premiere of George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "New York has long been the center of dance in America," says Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. "These three ballets and choreographers, each with their own special connections to New York, and together they create a performance just as diverse, beautiful and astonishing as the city that never sleeps."
Sir Frederick Ashton's dark and enigmatic Illuminations; performed to Benjamin Britten's settings for tenor and string, of selected poems B. Arthur Rimbaud, the enfant terrible of French poetry; portrays the poet's infatuation with his sacred and profane loves. Esteemed Dance Historian David Vaughan wrote in his book titled Frederick Ashton And His Ballets that "Illuminations may well be the most 'literary' of his ballets" and John Martin, America's first major dance critic, wrote during Illuminations' 1950 premiere that "The more one knows about its cruel and turbulent hero, Arthur Rimbaud, the more vivid are Ashton's images, and the more brilliant is his weaving together of the poet's life and the fantasy and voyance [sic] of his poetry."
Marcelo Gomes' World Premiere, choreographed to the music of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, marks the first time Gomes will choreograph on The Sarasota Ballet. While the ballet is still in its beginning stages, Gomes reveals the inspiration behind the upcoming premiere "The loose narrative of the piece is centered on a man who's about to lose his life and decides to write a letter expressing his thanks for the years he has lived. I see the dancers as his memories, with the performance playing inside his head. I see dancers symbolizing important elements of his life, from his greatest love to his youth and childhood."
Closing Metropolitan is the Company premiere of George Balanchine's Theme and Variation, an intensive development of the classic ballet lexicon, and intended, as Balanchine wrote, "to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky's music." With its glittering costumes the ballet transports audiences to the heyday of the Russian Imperial Ballet at the Maryinksy Theatre. Brian Seibert of the New York Times wrote that Theme and Variations is "a scintillating encapsulation of imperial Russian classicism. The palatial architecture of the choreography is built not to fail; in tandem with its Tchaikovsky score, the dance rises regally, majestically, transportingly."
Metropolitan is dedicated to the renowned Dance Historian David Vaughan-Author of The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years, Frederick Ashtonand His Ballets, and co-edited with Mary Clarke The Encyclopedia of Dance and ballet-who passed away Friday October 27. David was a dedicated and passionate dance lover, whose contributions to the art form as a historian have been instrumental in keeping the legacies and knowledge of ballet alive. "David was a dear friend and someone who I have always respected and looked up to greatly," says Webb. "His passing is a great loss to the dance community and it is now the responsibility of all of us to continue his great work in keeping the histories of dance thriving."
Ellen Overstreet, Amy Wood and Ricardo Graziano in Sir Frederick Ashton's Illuminations [Photography Frank Atura]
Kateyln May in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations [Photography Frank Atura]
Marcelo Gomes in Jorma Elo's Still of Kings [Vutti Photography]
Ellen Overstreet and Ricardo Graziano in Sir Frederick Ashton's Illuminations [Photography Gene Schiavone]
Danielle Brown & Ricardo Rhodes in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations [Photography Frank Atura]