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Oakland Ballet Opens 2020-21 Season Next Month With LUNA MEXICANA

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 Luna Mexicana runs November 5 - 6, with shows Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Oakland Ballet Opens 2020-21 Season Next Month With LUNA MEXICANA

Oakland Ballet Company has announced its return to the historic Paramount Theatre in LUNA MEXICANA, its annual celebration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Headlining the program is Los Cumpleaños, a world premiere with choreography by Graham Lustig, artistic director of Oakland Ballet. The program features additional performances by Aztec dance ensemble Nahui Ehekatl & Co. and Ballet Folklórico de México Danza. Luna Mexicana runs November 5 - 6, with shows Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tickets, $24 - $59, are now on sale at Ticketmaster. Visit oaklandballet.org/performances-events/luna-mexicana for more information.

One of the Bay Area's most elaborate and inclusive Día de los Muertos events, Luna Mexicana takes on added poignancy this year as Oakland Ballet "pays tribute to all those in our families and communities who have passed away from COVID-19," said OBC Board member Abel Guillén, former Oakland District 2 council member. "This celebration is our bond."

"Now in its fifth year, Luna Mexicana is a celebration of Mexican art and folklore," said Lustig. "With this production we celebrate life while honoring those who have departed us and the gifts they have left behind. Like the celebration that inspires it, Luna Mexicana is an exuberant blend of dance, music, costumes, flowers, candles and, most of all, of family."

"Normally, Luna Mexicana also includes a celebration of traditional foods for Día de los Muertos - sweet a??pan de muertoa??, tamales and horchataa??," added Lustig. "But in keeping with the Paramount Theatre's COVID-19 policies we will not be able to serve any food before or after the event this time." Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask. For an overview of all of the health and safety policies OBC and the Paramount Theatre have put in place this season, visit paramounttheatre.com.

Luna Mexicana's 90-minute program opens with a performance by Nahui Ehekatl & Co., under the artistic direction of Gilberto Oliveros. With dance and live music, performers dressed in traditional feathered headdresses will honor the four directions of the Aztec religion. Ballet Folklórico de México Danza, directed by René Gonzáles and Martín Romero, will perform next. The Hayward-based company, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, will present two series of dances.

Oakland Ballet welcomes a new full-company work by Lustig in collaboration with Samuel Cortez, artistic director of Los Lupeños de San José, titled Los Cumpleaños, themed around a birthday party. Cortez will serve as artistic advisor to OBC. Rounding out the program will be live music performed by a local mariachi band and the reprise of the ever-popular ballet Luna Mexicana.

Festivities begin in the lobby of the Paramount at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday with a??ofrendas a??on display created by Alicia Diaz, Micaela Mariscal and Lilia Olsen. Audience members of all ages are encouraged to attend in their finest Day of the Dead attire.

Oakland Ballet continues to deepen its longstanding commitment to community outreach and access, bringing its educational programs to more East Bay students and community members each year. Free-admission performances of a??Luna Mexicanaa?? will take place on October 27 for the Pleasanton Unified School District (USD), on November 2 for the Castro Valley USD, on November 3 for the Hayward USD and on November 5 for the Oakland USD.

Oakland Ballet's 2021-22 Season continues in December with its annual Nutcracker performances, followed in March with a showcase of Asian American choreographers, and in April a program honoring emerging and established women choreographers.


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