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Ballet Florida

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Ballet Florida (based in West Palm Beach, FL) has announced its 2005-06 schedule.

As in previous years, there's a full-length (R and J) plus several programs of shorter, contemporary ballets, the Nutcracker, and the dancers' own choreographic workshop performances.

* = company premiere

** = world premiere

Eissey Theater (I) -- November 4-6, 2005

-- Bartok Concerto (Ben Stevenson)

-- After Dark, double pas de deux (Mauricio Wainrot)

-- The Envelope (David Parsons)

-- Gemini (Vicente Nebrada)

-- Super Straight is Coming Down (Daniel Ezralow)

Kravis Center -- December 23-28, 2005

-- Marie Hale's The Nutcracker

Kravis Center (I) -- February 3-4, 2006

-- * Rite of Spring (Mauricio Wainrot)

-- * Bella (Dominic Walsh)

-- ** Five Poems (Ben Stevenson)

Kravis Center (II) -- March 17-18, 2006

-- Romeo and Juliet (Vicente Nebrada)

Eissey Theater (II) -- May 6-8, 2006

-- * I Remember Clifford (Twyla Tharp)

-- Bakers Dozen (Tharp)

-- ...Smile with my Heart (Lar Lubovitch)

-- Second Before the Ground (Trey McIntyre)

Eissey Theater -- June 23-24, 2006

--Step Ahead (Ballet Florida's Choreographic Workshop)

After having had serious financial and administrative problems last year, as well as surviving 2 hurricanes which damaged their headquarters, the company seems to be reorganizing, with a new Executive Director and a million-dollar grant from two benefactors.

Ballet Florida describes itself as a Classical and Contemporary Dance Company. The training and classes are ballet-based, but the reperatory is primary cross-over or modern. Attempts to do classical works -- Balanchine, Le Corsaire, and even Sean Lavery -- don't always fare too well. On the other hand, the late Vicente Nebrada's ballet-lite choreography works pretty effectively for a company attempting the large-scale Romeo and Juliet. The company's special relationship with Ben Stevenson (who helped them set his Dracula last year and has a few ballets in each season) continues. The Envelope is a repeat from last season, when it was done without the bite, speed or crispness of previous years. They've done a lot better with this work before. It's a crowd-pleaser, as are the Tharps and the Trey McIntire.

At their best, this is a winning and energetic company which does interesting work and makes it look like fun. Their Step Ahead program -- 10 or more dances choreographed by members of the company -- is always exciting. The only personnel change reported so far is the retirement of the elegant and versatile dancer, Christina Hampton. She'll be missed, and I hope they seek to fill her toe shoes with someone with a similarly strong classical gift.

Edited by bart

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