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Los Angeles Ballet Makes Southern California Debut


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#1 Laura Lazear

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:12 PM

Guest Artists include Paloma Herrera of American Ballet Theatre; Artem Shpilevsky of Bolshoi Ballet; and Yvonne Borree, Nikolaj Hübbe, Maria Kowroski, Nilas Martins and Benjamin Millepied of New York City Ballet.

Performances to Take Place Across Los Angeles, including Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center and Alex Theatre, Glendale.




October 11, 2006 (Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles Ballet makes its exciting debut as the city’s own professional ballet company led by world-renown artists Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, as Artistic Directors. With 21 dancers hand-selected from the highest caliber schools and companies around the globe, Los Angeles Ballet will set a new standard for dance in Los Angeles and captivate a large and diverse audience by performing in venues across the city.

Los Angeles Ballet’s first season begins with “The Nutcracker” at the Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills December 2-3, moving to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center December 23-24 and culminating at Alex Theatre, Glendale December 30-31. Benjamin Millepied and Maria Kowroski from New York City Ballet and Paloma Herrera from American Ballet Theatre will be featured guest artists.

Nutcracker tickets are on sale immediately by calling 310-998-7782 or by visiting www.losangelesballet.org, with annual subscriptions available from $89.25 to $242.25.

“We are thrilled to become part of the cultural landscape that makes up Los Angeles and are enthusiastically preparing for our Nutcracker season,” said Christensen. “With a home-based professional ballet company, Los Angeles audiences and a new generation of dance enthusiasts can regularly experience world class dance and enjoy the company’s exquisite dance productions designed expressly for Los Angeles. “

The creative tour de force behind Los Angeles Ballet is Christensen and Neary, a husband and wife team who have more than 50 years’ combined professional experience in dance. Christensen danced with the Royal Danish Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bejart's Ballet du Xxieme Siecle, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and was appointed artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet School in 1999.

Neary performed with the prestigious New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. She was appointed First Ballet Mistress in Charge of Productions for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1999 and is also a “Repetiteur” for The George Balanchine Trust—a special distinction that makes Neary one of the few in the world allowed to stage Balanchine ballets for professional companies.

“We have an exciting repertoire ahead of us that reflects our artistic backgrounds and pays homage to some of world’s greatest choreographers,” added Neary. “The Nutcracker will be a special production for Southern California and act as a wonderful showcase for what we can achieve as a company.”

Los Angeles Ballet dancers have joined the Company from such esteemed dance institutions as Dance Theatre of Harlem, Staatsballett Berlin, Louisville Ballet, New York City Ballet, Westside School of Ballet (Los Angeles), The Royal Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Each of the 21 dancers brings his or her own artistic sensibility to the Company and will dance both principal and supporting roles throughout the season.

The Company, a not-for-profit arts organization affiliated with the Westside School of Ballet, makes its professional home at the Malibu Performing Arts Center. Julie Whittaker is the Company’s executive director.

Los Angeles Ballet is a new organization and not affiliated with previous organizations of the same name.

The Nutcracker
Los Angeles Ballet‘s season debuts with “The Nutcracker” featuring original choreography by Christensen and Neary.

Accompanied by a live orchestra, Los Angeles Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker will have a distinct Southern California flair. The production follows the traditional story of Clara and her family welcoming guests to a party on Christmas Eve and the adventure which ensues.

Created by Los Angeles designer Catherine Kanner, the setting is 1912 California in a classic Spanish style home with Mexican, Spanish and European influences. Throughout two acts, the audience will be introduced to hints and tastes of Southern California. The sets create the feeling of being inside a children’s book; a real place yet fantastical -- warm and inviting. Audiences will feel at home yet will soon learn to anticipate fresh variations on the traditional themes.

Spring and Summer Programs
The Company’s spring and summer programs will feature guest artists Artem Shpilevsky of Bolshoi Ballet as well as Yvonne Borree, Nikolaj Hübbe, Maria Kowroski, Nilas Martins from New York City Ballet. The spring program is entitled “New Beginnings” (Concerto Barocco, Duo Concertant, Napoli, Act III) based on the works of George Balanchine and August Bournonville, and in the summer the Company introduces its program with “An Evening with Balanchine” (Serenade, Apollo, Rubies).





2006-2007 INAUGURAL SEASON
2006/2007 SUBSCRIPTION SERIES*
Ticket Information: 310-998-7782; http://www.losangelesballet.org


VENUE DATE PROGRAM
Wilshire Theatre, Beverly Hills
8440 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, 90210 Dec. 2, 2006 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Dec. 3, 2006 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


March 15-16, 2007
[Performance Times TBD]



June 9-10, 2007
[Performance Times TBD]
“The Nutcracker”



“New Beginnings” (Concerto Barocco, Duo Concertant, Napoli, Act III)


“An Evening with Balanchine”
(Serenade, Apollo, Rubies)
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Boulevard
Redondo Beach, 90023
Dec. 23, 2006 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Dec. 24, 2006 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


March 15-16, 2007
[Performance Times TBD]



June 1-2, 2007
[Performance Times TBD] “The Nutcracker”



“New Beginnings” (Concerto Barocco, Duo Concertant, Napoli, Act III)


“An Evening with Balanchine”
(Serenade, Apollo, Rubies)
The Alex Theatre, Glendale
216 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, 91203
Dec. 30, 2006 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Dec. 31, 2006 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


March 31, 2007
[Performance Times TBD]



May 26, 2007
[Performance Times TBD] “The Nutcracker”



“New Beginnings” (Concerto Barocco, Duo Concertant, Napoli, Act III)


“An Evening with Balanchine”
(Serenade, Apollo, Rubies)


*Repertoire subject to change

Media Contacts:
Ariel Carpenter/Michelle Thomas
mPRm Public Relations
323-933-3399
acarpenter@mprm.com/mthomas@mprm.com

#2 carbro

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:39 PM

So I guess this is a double welcome -- to you to Ballet Talk :) and to the Los Angeles Ballet as it takes to the stage for the first time :angel_not: .

Mr. Christensen and Ms. Neary have put together an ambitious and very appealing season. I wish I could see it, but I'll have to count on our SoCal members to put me in their seats.

Los Angeles Ballet's website provides portals to buy tickets.

Thanks for the notification, and every wish for the success of the company.

#3 Laura Lazear

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 09:52 PM

So I guess this is a double welcome -- to you to Ballet Talk :yahoo: and to the Los Angeles Ballet as it takes to the stage for the first time :flowers: .

Mr. Christensen and Ms. Neary have put together an ambitious and very appealing season. I wish I could see it, but I'll have to count on our SoCal members to put me in their seats.

Los Angeles Ballet's website provides portals to buy tickets.

Thanks for the notification, and every wish for the success of the company.



Thank you very much for your kind reply. We are very excited for LAB's debut! Especially with the amazing dancers that we have, it is going to be a great season!

Best wishes,

Laura

#4 winky

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 12:30 AM

I want to congratulate LAB as well. Based on your website it looks like you are going to have some really lovely programs with great people at the helm.

I look forward to the next time I'm in Los Angeles so I can see the new company.

Best of luck!

#5 carbro

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:24 PM

Just in from Los Angeles Ballet:


[size=4]LOS ANGELES BALLET ANNOUNCES SPRING REPERTOIRE
‘NEW BEGINNINGS’[/size]



Featuring works of Balanchine and Bournonville, New Beginnings to Exhibit Depth of Skill and Artistry of LAB Ensemble with Ambitious Program


February 23, 2007 (Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles Ballet [LAB] presents its Spring repertoire, entitled ‘New Beginnings’ which will be performed March 15-31 at venues across Los Angeles, LAB Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary announced today. The repertoire features celebrated works of George Balanchine and August Bournonville, including Agon, Concerto Barocco and Napoli Pas de Six and Tarantella.

The program, which will serve as a showcase for the strength and artistry of LAB dancers, introduces new Company members, including Melissa Barak, formerly with New York City Ballet and a Westside Ballet School alumna; and Sergey Kheylik, who performed with LAB during The Nutcracker season. In addition, Rainer Krenstetter, first soloist with the Staatsballett Berlin, will make a guest appearance* in Napoli Pas de Six and Tarantella. (Please see below for principal casting.)

In addition, New Beginnings repertoire underscores the creative leadership of the Company. Both Concerto Barocco and Agon will be staged by Ms. Neary, who is “Repetiteur” for The George Balanchine Trust—a special distinction that makes her one of the few in the world allowed to stage Balanchine ballets for professional companies.

Also, Napoli Pas de Six and Tarantella, choreographed by Bournonville, will be staged by Mr. Christensen, former artistic director with the Royal Danish Ballet and The Royal Danish Ballet School.

“We are particularly proud to share the work of these great ballet masters interpreted by our corps of talented dancers,” Ms. Neary said. “These ballets will really showcase our dancers and their ability to perform complex works in addition to such annual favorites as The Nutcracker,” Mr. Christensen added.

About New Beginnings
New Beginnings will feature three ballets based on the work of choreographers George Balanchine and August Bournon
  • Agon -- Choreographed in 1957 for New York City Ballet, Agon is a collaboration between Balanchine and Stravinsky composed of 12 dancers. This ballet is a masterpiece of modernism and musicality.
  • Concerto Barocco -- Set to Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, this Balanchine ballet beautifully demonstrates the purity between musicality and structure. Concerto Barocco was choreographed in 1941 for American Ballet Caravan and presented in 1948 for the Inaugural performance of New York City Ballet.
  • Napoli, Pas de Six and Tarantella -- The spirited, joyous wedding celebration of Teresina and Gennaro, choreographed by August Bournonville, with music by Helsted and Paulli.
Continuing with its strategy of delivering unparalleled dancing to disparate areas of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Ballet will begin the season on March 15-16 (7:30 p.m.) at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse; continue performances at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on March 17 (7:30 p.m.) and March 18 (2 p.m.); and end its run at the Alex Theatre, Glendale on March 31 (7:30 p.m.).

Tickets for New Beginnings are on sale immediately by calling 310-998-7782 or by visiting www.losangelesballet.org. Annual subscriptions are available from $59.50 to $161.50; and single ticket sales range from $35 to $95.


About Los Angeles Ballet
Launched in 2006 by artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, Los Angeles Ballet made its exciting debut with The Nutcracker as the city’s own professional ballet company focused on capturing the creative aesthetic unique to Southern California. With a professional ballet presence in Los Angeles, the Company is building a large and diverse fan base who will become devoted, supportive patrons.

Los Angeles Ballet’s 21 dancers have joined the Company from such esteemed dance institutions ranging from Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Royal Ballet School and Louisville Ballet, to New York City Ballet, Westside School of Ballet (Los Angeles), and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

The Company, a not-for-profit arts organization affiliated with the Westside School of Ballet, makes its professional home at the Malibu Performing Arts Center. Julie Whittaker is the Company’s executive director.

Principal Casting for New Beginnings
Concerto Barocco:
Corina Gill, Oleg Gorboulev, Melissa Barak

Agon: Sergey Kheylik, Lauren Toole, Corina Gill, Oleg Gorboulev, Andrew Brader, Maco Doussias, Kelly Ann Sloan, Erin Rivera-Brennand

Pas de Six and Tarantella from Napoli:Rainer Krenstetter, Oleg Gorboulev, Masahiro Suehara, Peter Snow, Sergey Kheylik, Maco Doussias, Corina Gill, Lauren Toole, Kelly Ann Sloan, Nancy Richer, Erin Rivera-Brennand, Erika Bandy, Andrew Brader

#6 art076

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:07 PM

I really enjoyed Los Angeles Ballet's first performance on Thursday at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. The theater was a really wonderful, intimate change from the vast and unforgiving Wilshire Theatre. And it's also far more intimate than the huge halls a the Music Center and the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where I'm used to seeing ballet in Los Angeles.

I was excited about the programming: Concerto Barocco, Agon, and diverts from Act 3 of Napoli. Neary and Christen chose well, where the great choreography sustained the evening and gave the dancers a great challenge to come up against. Agon in particular isn't a walk in the park for even the big companies. So not only was it interesting to see how the dancers would accomplish the ballets, but the ballets themselves were just fantastic to watch.

The performances were very promising - a bit tentative in the corps (understandable, they're new), but overall very well coached and clean.

Agon in particular came off very well. There was an exciting energy and fizz when the female corps stormed onto the stage to Stravinsky's atonal violin beats at the beginning of the ballet. The men held their own as well (though a few seemed to try too hard, and ended up sloppy).

Corina Gill gets the kudos for holding up virtually the entire evening on her shoulders: she not only led one ballet, but ALL THREE on the program. She danced the adagio/pas de deux role in Barocco, then took on the pas de deux in Agon, and then showed up for a brief by very impactful variation in Napoli. And she was fantastic in all three roles - her dancing had a musicality and confidence that adapted to each ballet. Most amazingly: a transformation from the subtly seductive Agon to cheerful, elegant and fleet-footed lightness in Napoli, with barely 20 minutes in between. She's tiny in stature, but dances big - a joy to watch. Oleg Gorboulev partnered her in Barocco and Agon. We didn't get to see him dance much on his own, but he was a sturdy partner and had strong, easy presence on stage.

We don't get much Balanchine in SoCal, so this was a nice big helping of Balanchine's great ballets. They're doing this program through the weekend, and then one more time at the end of the month. The next program should be great as well: Serenade, Apollo and Rubies.

#7 socalgal

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 11:28 PM

I attended this program Thursday evening also! I agree with all of your observations.
Thor and Colleen spoke at the beginning to explain the background of each piece and why it was chosen for their inaugeral rep season. They were charming. I wish them the best and will try and attend their next rep program. There was one male member that captivated me. A talent to watch for. I was told that he was an SAB student who recently performed in NYCB's Nutcracker in Tea. It was also wonderful to see a lovely former NYCB dancer Melissa Barak dancing second violin in Concerto Barocco. Welcome home, Melissa!

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 06:00 AM

There was one male member that captivated me. A talent to watch for. I was told that he was an SAB student who recently performed in NYCB's Nutcracker in Tea.


Probably Masahiro Suehara?

One company member, Peter Snow, worked with me in '03. Did anyone happen to notice him? How is he doing?

#9 socalgal

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 06:30 AM

Indeed, it was Masahiro Suehara. What a wonderful young dancer. His foot work was so articulate, his ballone and batterie were incredible in the Napoli solo he performed (1st male variation). Peter Snow was scheduled to dance Agon 's 1st pas de trois and Napoli at other scheduled dates. There were some replacements at the beginning, but I fail to remember the names. So I am not sure if I saw him or not. Sorry. I will say that all the men last night were excellent and well coached. Many of the female corps seemed able but not as secure in the Balanchine pieces. (Barocco is a tough one!) Everyone shined in Napoli which was the closer. It was a joy to see Bournenville
danced so well and with such spirit. A highlight for me.

#10 Andre Yew

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:21 PM

I saw the Friday and Saturday shows, and can't add too much to what's already been said. I think the men definitely looked stronger than most of the women, and the men had really nice feet as well. Peter danced in Napoli, and looked very good doing it. I hope we get to see him dance more. While I enjoyed all three pieces (the two Balanchine pas were especially beautiful), I thought Napoli looked the best coached and prepared.

The audience was fairly full for the Friday show at UCLA, but really bare (less than 1/3 of the seats filled?) at Redondo Beach. Hopefully it will be better for their next performance at the Alex in Glendale on March 31.

--Andre

#11 art076

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:25 PM

Thanks, socalgal for mentioning Neary and Christensen's introductory remarks - I remember thinking at the time how charming it was to introduce the ballets. Made it feel like a community event. And yes, Masahiro Suehara really was wonderful in Napoli.

I went back on Saturday night to see the company in Redondo Beach. That theatre is considerably larger than UCLA's hall, but the stage seemed a bit bigger too. Getting a bit of perspective away from the stage was nice, but I did enjoy the intimacy at UCLA. The company looked good again, but understandably a bit tired at their third marathon weekend performance. Napoli, though, was sheer joy - very bright and bouncy. They really seemed to dig into the Bournonville style, and were much more willing to let go this time around.

One thing though: there was a photographer at the back of the house noisily snapping photographs during the show! He seemd to be LA Ballet's own photographer, as he was there on Thursday night, too doing the same thing during Agon until the company's publicist (or thats who she said she was) asked him to move into the sound booth. I was sitting in the back of the house both times (could not afford to pay up to $95 for front seats- and even in the back they were $55!), so he was right behind me and the noise directly affected me and patrons sitting around me. Not that I don't understand the company's needs for PR and marketing photos, but it's ridiculous to subject the audience to this very annoying sound, especially a paying audience. It kept jarring me out of the ballets - thankfully it was only during Agon on Thursday, but on Saturday, it completely destroyed my experience of Concerto Barocco. The house manager allowed me to move forward since there were seats availabe that night. But most professional theatres have a policy of putting photographers away from the audience or in a sound booth, to muffle the camera sounds (and to comply with union rules) - if this company wants to become fully professional and be considered as such, it will have to pay as much attention to the needs of its audience as it does to the work on stage.

#12 dcportrait

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 03:25 AM

Did any one in the LA area attend last night's performance of "An Evening of Balanchine"? Any thoughts? :)

#13 Andre Yew

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 07:08 PM

Yes, I saw Thursday night's show. Colleen and Thordal once again introduced the show, which is a nice touch that gives a human face to the backstage stuff.

Serenade needed a lot of work, especially from the corps. Some of the soloists were looking a bit rough as well. Brooklyn Mack was brought in to dance the man's role, and it wasn't flattering to his partner since he looked like he was in a completely different (ie. much better) technical class than his partner --- imagine one of those school performances where they bring in a professional danseur to partner the school girls. They also had no chemistry, and their partnership was a bit lacking as well. There were missed lighting cues as well.

Apollo was in better shape except for a couple of lighting and music gaffs, and they did the full version with the birth scene. Oleg Gourboulev danced Apollo, and did well --- it was a pretty straightforward interpretation. It was nowhere as wrongheaded as the Joffrey's about a month ago when they visited LA, but nowhere near Peter Boal's when Suzanne Farrell's company visited UCLA a couple of years ago. The three muses were fine as well, and Corina Gill makes for a very fine Terpsichore. Terpsichore and Apollo's pas was the highlight of the evening.

Rubies looked like the thing they worked on most. Sergei Kheylik and Corina Gill danced the main roles, and were fine doing it in terms of the steps executed. If anything, they mainly lacked the idiomatic sharpness and jazziness of the piece. It looked as if they were still connecting the dots, going from dot to dot instead of filling the choreography. I suppose this kind of thing comes with time and more familiarity with the choreography. The corps was a bit tighter, but could use a little bit more work as well.

One thing that was a letdown this time was the weakness of the men's corps especially after the men looked so good in their last program. There's not much of it in this program, but for the most part, the men in the corps looked really weak and lacking in even basic ballet carriage: collapsed chests, looking at the floor, etc. They were also especially short.

Another thing that was really annoying, and has been documented and complained to the management before, was the house photographer whose camera could be heard from my seat in row C. Imagine the closing scene of Serenade with clicks going on. He had been moved into the soundbox, but he opened its window so he could still could be clearly heard.

I'm going again on Saturday in Glendale. Hopefully they'll have cleaned up a lot of stuff.

--Andre

#14 dcportrait

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 11:54 AM

I'm going again on Saturday in Glendale. Hopefully they'll have cleaned up a lot of stuff.


Andrew - Did you go last night, and had it been cleaned up? :blink:I wish I could attend, but its not in the cards right now -
dcportrait

#15 Andre Yew

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 07:12 PM

Yes, I did go again last night (Saturday, Alex Theater in Glendale), and it was much improved. Serenade looked much better, and the dancers were really getting into the style of the other pieces, especially Rubies. It's too bad they only have 4 performances, because I think they could look very good if they had more time to get the choreography in their bones.

What remained the same however was the very weak men's corps. It was kind of embarassing putting that quality of dancers on stage for the prices they were charging ($95 for the best seats), which were comparable the big touring companies' prices.

--Andre


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