Media Alert: Diablo Ballet Presents BALANCHINE & BEYOND

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Diablo Ballet presents the second program of their 26th season, Balanchine & Beyond, Feb 7 - 8 at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek. The programs features selections from five ballets including George Balanchine's, Who Cares? set to the music of Gershwin; the choreographic debut of company dancer Michael Wells; the bravura Esmerelda; and the celebration of female choreographers with works by Sally Streets and Penny Saunders.

Diablo Ballet presents George Balanchine's iconic Who Cares?, which has been in the Company's repertoire since 2002. When George Gershwin gave Balanchine a book of his songs, the gift sparked the idea for Who Cares?, one of the most joyous of the Balanchine ballets. This fast-stepping ballet evokes the lively spirit of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and the 1930s and portrays an exuberance that is broadly American and charged with a distinctive energy. Excerpts of George Gershwin arranged by Hershy Kay highlight eight songs Gershwin composed between 1924 and 1931.

The program also features two celebrated female choreographers with works by Penny Saunders and Sally Streets. The intricate duet Berceuse by Penny Saunders, is set to orchestral excerpts from French composer Benjamin Godard's opera "Jocelyn". The ballet, which originally made its debut in 2011 for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, explores the nuanced line between classical and contemporary dance with a sweeping and intricate vocabulary that expresses the cadence of a love affair. Sally Streets' Bach Suite for Strings was originally created for Diablo Ballet in 1995. This lyrical and classical ballet features three couples and is set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach's Gavotte and Praeludium from the Partita in E major and Sonata in A minor for violin.

Also included on the program is the bravura Esmeralda Pas de Deux, variations and Coda inspired by the novel "Notre-Dame de Paris" by Victor Hugo. The ballet was originally choreographed by Jules Perrot to music by Cesare Pugni and premiered in London in 1844. The selection will feature the whole company and will be staged by Ballet Mistress Sherri LeBlanc and Company Regisseur Joanna Berman.

Company dancer Michael Wells will make his choreographic debut with Forward Thinking. The ballet is set to music composed by Justin Levitt and will be performed live by a string chamber ensemble.

Following each performance, ticket holders are invited to stay for a dessert and coffee post-performance reception where they can meet and mingle with the dancers. Tickets are $15-48. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW (7469) or visit lesherartscenter.org or diabloballet.org.




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