Festival Ballet Providence To Present Diverse Program At UNH Celebrity Series

Festival Ballet Providence To Present Diverse Program At UNH Celebrity SeriesFestival Ballet Providence, (FBP) one of New England's leading dance companies, will bring a wide-ranging program to the University of New Hampshire "Celebrity Series" April 7, 2018, 7:00pm. The performance will serve as a homecoming for the powerhouse company's Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric, who led Ballet New England in Portsmouth, NH until 1997. Djuric is currently at the helm of Festival Ballet Providence, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this season.

Rich with life and spirit, Djuric's Magnificat (World Premiere: The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH 1997) brings to life Bach's magnificent biblical canticle. Writing in the Boston Sunday Globe at its premiere, D. Quincey Whitney says, "Djuric strikes an exquisite balance between the lofty ideas of ballet and the earthly accessibility of folk dance. The result is stunning, beautiful. ... Dance is the language of body pictures above and beyond words. Sometimes the body pictures are so perfect, the dance defies description. ... Like paradoxical images in a good poem, Djuric uses unexpected combinations to explore apparent opposites in his design of Magnificat."

Also on the bill is Christopher Wheeldon's The American, a sweeping ballet offering a tribute to Americana. Wheeldon paints a picture of the tranquil Great Plains, the romantic landscape that provided the inspiration for Czech composer Antonín Dvo?ák's accompanying quartet of the same name. In 2016, Wheeldon won a Tony Award for "Best Choreography" for An American In Paris on Broadway, which he also directed. This will be the premiere of Wheeldon's choreography in New Hampshire.

The program will also feature a new adaptation of Stravinsky's epic The Rite of Spring, which is being conceived by Providence-based choreographer yon Tande, who previously danced with Martha Graham Dance Company. FBP will present an excerpt from this exciting creation, Part I: Veneration of the Earth, which reveals the ritual preparatory actions for the sacrificial rite to come.

Boston-based choreographer and former dancer with the Jose Limón Company Kurt Douglas created Thrust for FBP this season, receiving rave reviews for the athletic piece. The Providence Journal's Channing Gray said, "It's powerful, and unrelenting, with a randomness in search of an order it can never quite find. And the piece never lets up, coming at you at times like a shotgun blast, with no message, aside from the pure joy of movement."

Assaf Benchetrit, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at UNH College of Liberal Arts, said, "We are thrilled to bring Festival Ballet here to UNH with such a powerful and diverse program. I think our audience is going to be blown away!"

Tickets: $30 general admission, $27 for UNH IDs and Senior Citizens, $10 for UNH Students with ID and youth under age 18. https://cola.unh.edu/celebrity-series/event/festival-ballet-providence

Photo: FBP Company in Christopher Wheeldon's The American. Photo by Thomas Nola-Rion

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