Oakland Ballet Company to Celebrate Graham Lustig With Lustig LIVE!

The program of four works features live music throughout with guest artists.

By: Apr. 15, 2024
Oakland Ballet Company to Celebrate Graham Lustig With Lustig LIVE!
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Oakland Ballet Company’s 2023-24 Season will conclude May 3 to 4 with Lustig LIVE!, a celebration of the choreography of Artistic Director Graham Lustig including a world premiere inspired by the life and career of Vaslav Nijinsky. The program of four works features live music throughout with guest artists Leor Beary, Hank Maninger, Hadley McCarroll, Arturo Rodrigues, William Skeen and Shawnette Sulker

Lustig LIVE! will take place at the Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center at Laney College with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4. Tickets, starting at $20, are now on sale at oakland-ballet-company.ticketleap.com/lustig-live.

In the world premiere of Faun we meet the 60-year-old Vaslav Nijinsky, on April 8, 1950, his final afternoon. A Spirit of his former self leads him on this culminating journey where the former Ballet Russes star relives his life through the roles he danced. Woven through the work are quotations from Nijinsky’s original ballets Faun, Rite of Spring and Jeux as well as references to roles he famously danced in works such as Petrushka and Le Spectre de la Rose. 

Lawrence Chen appears as the Spirit, Karina Eimon as Romola, Logan Martin as Diaghilev and Graham Lustig as the mature Nijinsky. Arturo Rodriguez performs on flute and Hadley McCarroll on piano.

“As a young dancer with the Dutch National Ballet, I had the honor of being chosen by Nicholas Beriosoff to dance the title role of Petrushka, a role originally created in 1911 for Nijinsky by Mikhail Fokine," said Lustig. "Papa Beriosoff, as he was known, was taught the role by Fokine, for whom he became the ballet master. While growing up as a child in London, on the wall of my bedroom I had a poster of Nijinsky as the Faun. Later, through the experience of performing Petrushka, I felt a deep connection to him.”

Rounding out the program are three short works. Uncertain Steps, originally created for the Dutch company Introdans, is set to J. S. Bach’s Cello Suite No 6. in D major, and Baroque cellist William Skeen will join Oakland Ballet on stage next month. 

Dialogues features guest dancer Stephanie Powell in a role about a woman looking back at her life and past lovers. Set to a score by composer Pat Rasile, with text from several of Michelagelo’s love poems, the ballet features soprano Shawnette Sulker and pianist Hadley McCarroll.

Finally, Heartbreak Hotel draws inspiration from the Californian invention of speed-dating and set to a suite of songs popularized by Elvis Presley. Candid dating advice accompanies the score. Hank Maninger performs vocals and guitar, and Leor Beary on percussion and vocals.

For more information, visit oaklandballet.org/performances-events/lustig-live.


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