Diablo Ballet Presents STARS & STRIPES JUBILEE March 22 And 23

Diablo Ballet will be performing the fourth Campaign-Liberty Bell and El Capitan.

By: Feb. 02, 2024

Artistic Director and Co-Founder Lauren Jonas has announced Diablo Ballet's Stars & Stripes Jubilee program on March 22-23 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

The Company's 30th Anniversary program features George Balanchine's Stars & Stripes Pas de Deux. New York City Ballet premiered this exuberant patriotic ballet on January 17, 1958 at City Center in New York City, set to the music of John Philip Sousa and arranged by Hershy Kay. Diablo Ballet will be performing the fourth Campaign-Liberty Bell and El Capitan.

Balanchine specifically asked Hershy Kay to use brass instruments in this section, rather than the violin. When asked why he chose to choreograph a ballet to Sousa, Balanchine replied, “Because I like his music.”

Also on the program is Forward Thinking by Diablo Ballet's Rehearsal Director and former dancer, Michael Wells. Premiered in February 2020, the ballet is set to composer Justin Levitt's lush score and will be performed by a live string ensemble. Forward Thinking follows six individuals as they move through life, exploring the varied relationships they have along the way. It expresses the feeling of looking toward the future while also holding onto your past. The March program also includes an encore presentation of Elevator Operator, which premiered in March 2023, choreographed by company dancer Amanda Farris. This work was inspired by Farris' love of Bossa Nova music. Farris stated, “It's unfortunate that this music is often relegated to be used as elevator music or generic background music, so I wanted to create a story where it takes the spotlight in a collective daydream. Using magical realism, it takes a look at how we can find joy in the commonplace or the mundane.”

An important part of Diablo Ballet's mission is to nurture choreography from within the Company. Rounding out the program is the company premiere of the Grand Pas D'Action from La Bayadère. This celebratory excerpt is a story of eternal love and will include the entire company and upper-level students from Diablo Ballet School in a grand finale. La Bayadère premiered in 1877 in Saint Petersburg and is being staged by Company Regisseur, Christopher Lam, Rehearsal Director Sean Kelly, and Artistic Director Lauren Jonas.

Stars & Stripes Jubilee performs March 22 – 23 at the Lesher Center for the Arts, located at 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek. Performances: Friday, March 22 at 6 pm and Saturday, March 23 at 2 pm. Single tickets are now on sale now ($26 - $54) with senior and youth pricing available. Early Bird pricing is available through February 28. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW (7469) or visit www.lesherartscenter.org or www.diabloballet.org.

Immediately following the performance, the night continues at Diablo Ballet's 30th Anniversary Black and White Ball at The Garden (formerly Scott's Garden) within walking distance from the theatre. Guests will be treated to dinner with the dancers, a silent auction, champagne toast and dessert. For information, please call (925) 943-1775.
About Diablo Ballet Since 1994, Diablo Ballet has been the award-winning, professional dance company for Contra Costa County. Presenting acclaimed classical and contemporary ballets, the company is committed to exposing youth to the arts through its renowned PEEK Outreach Programs which has reached over 70,000 underserved school children in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties since 1995. Diablo Ballet has also served hundreds of at-risk teenagers incarcerated within the Juvenile Justice system since 2015; and in 2019, the company began working with teenagers housed at the Behavioral Health Unit at John Muir Hospital, Concord. In August 2019, Diablo Ballet opened the first Ballet School in Contra Costa County run by their professional ballet company, located in Walnut Creek.