First State Ballet Theatre - the only professional ballet company in the state - announces its '17-'18 season.

I have had the privilege of seeing the majority of their performances over these 17 years. (Full disclosure: I was a warm body walk-on on a few occasions and witnessed first-hand the dedication, passion and excellence that Artistic Director Pasha Kambalov and wife Kristina Kambalov bring every day to their professional ensemble. My favorite part was as a swashbuckling Capulet swordsman in ROMEO AND JULIET. I handily dispatched those hooligan Montagues and slept well each night).

Having reviewed live theatre for 30 years, I placed FSBT theatre on the same Olympian plateau as UD Rep Ensemble. Now, happily for us, Delaware Théâtre Company joins them in the pinnacle of performing arts.

It is fascinating to watch Pasha at rehearsal. He exhibits an almost manic attention to detail in surveying his charges, laser-focused like a raptor circling his prey. There is not a lot of conversation in ballet. Emotions are expressed by the nuance of face, by the sweep of the arms and the grace and fluidity of the dance.

While FSBT has both paid and volunteer staff, two ladies whose eye and expertise add to the overall quality are Wardrobe Manager Joanne Epstein and Company Photographer Tisa Della-Volpe. Their work is perfection.

GISELLE: Sat., Oct. 21 @ 7pm and Sun., Oct. 22 @ 2pm in the baby grand

One of the world's most beloved ballets, a transcendent love story that follows an innocent village girl transformed into a tender spirit after dying of a broken heart. With its hauntingly beautiful ensemble of white tutus, its classical technique and its heartbreaking romance, Giselle will enrapture.

UP FRONT WITH FSBT: Fri., Nov. 17, 2017 at 7 p.m. Sat., Nov. 18, 2017 at 7 p.m.

One of our most popular events of the season. Performed in Studio 1 at the Baby Grand, Up Front gives audiences the chance to experience the dancing in an intimate setting. The program includes highlights from the classical repertoire and new contemporary work. Join FSBT dancers after the performance for a reception in Our Studios!

THE NUTCRACKER: Fri., Dec. 22, 2017 at 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 23, 2017 at 2 p.m. Sat., Dec. 23, 2017 at 7 p.m.

The annual event taking place on the main stage Copeland Hall. A "grand" event.

TWIN BILL: PAQUITA & THE YOUNG LADY AND THE HOOLIGAN: Sat., Feb. 17, 2018 at 7 p.m. Sun., Feb. 18, 2018 at 2 p.m.

The Grand Pas Classique from Paquita blends Spanish flair with exquisite classicism to create one of the beautiful and enduring masterpieces in the ballet repertoire. With its effervescent mix of challenging choreography and expressive artistry, Paquita remains one of ballet's most beloved showcases for dancers and audiences alike.

The Young Lady and The Hooligan is based on Vladimir Mayakovsky's 1918 film about a street criminal transformed through his love of a young teacher. Composer Dmitri Shostakovich dramatizes this melancholy tale of love and transformation with his vividly dynamic and lyrical score.

ROMEO AND JULIET: Fri., Apr., 13, 2018 at 7 p.m. Sat., Apr. 14, 2018 at 2 p.m. Sat., Apr., 14, 2018 at 7 p.m. Sun., April 15, 2018 at 2 p.m.

A world premiere created by award-winning choreographer and frequent FSBT collaborator Viktor Plotnikov, Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare's classic tragedy set to the unforgettable score by Sergei Prokoviev - will be one of the most exciting cultural events in Wilmington this season.

Note: Pasha played Romeo the first time I ever saw him dance many arabesques, allegros and adagios ago. Believe me, Prokoviev's music is monumental and entrancing. Tickets: 302.652.5577

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From This Author Greer Firestone

Greer Firestone has been reviewing the performing arts for 25 years. He is the playwright of JUDY GARLAND "World's Greatest Entertainer". The book show is (read more...)

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