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Balanchine (some) on Opening Night


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The Guild Invitation arrived today, and has the following to say about Opening Night:

...a special one-time-only presentation of a Premiere Ballet. The evening will also include the season's only performance of "Purple" from Ecstatic Orange by Peter Martins, the return of Christopher Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance), and excerpts of repertory highlights, including favorites from George Balanchine.
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... "Disposables & Indisposables".

Ahhh... Brava! You've caught the New Spirit! But how could one consider the wonderful Carousel a "disposable", with that glorious pair Alexandra Ansanelli and Damian Woetzel?


It will be difficult finding disposable Balanchine from the list of his ballets this season, for the

sake of fair and balanced programming.

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Opening Night Program:

Carousel (A Dance) (Rodgers/Wheeldon)

Slice to Sharp (excerpt) (von Biber & Vivaldi/Elo)

"Purple" from Ecstatic Orange (Torke/Martins)

Friandises (excerpt) (Rouse/Martins)


Walpurgisnacht Ballet (excerpt) (Gounod/Balanchine)

Middle Duet (American Premiere) (Khanon/Ratmansky)

N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz (excerpt) (Prince/Robbins)

Stars and Stripes (excerpt) (Sousa/Balanchine)

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Here's the release:

Opening Night Benefit on Tuesday, November 21 to Feature an American Premiere by Alexei Ratmansky

One-Time-Only Program Will Also Feature Works by George Balanchine, Jorma Elo, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon


New York City Ballet's annual Opening Night Benefit will be held on Tuesday, November 21 at 7:30 pm, and will be highlighted by a one-time-only performance of an American Premiere by Alexei Ratmansky, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet. The performance will also feature works by George Balanchine, Jorma Elo, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.

Mr. Ratmansky's ballet, called Middle Duet, was created for the Kirov Ballet and premiered at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 24, 1998. It features a score by Russian composer Yury Khanon. This will be the second ballet by Mr. Ratmansky to enter the NYCB repertory. The first, Russian Seasons, was created for the Company, and premiered in June as part of the 2006 Diamond Project.

Mr. Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow; he was named Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. In addition to his works for that company, Mr. Ratmansky has also choreographed ballets for the Kirov Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.

The evening will also include the season's only performance of "Purple" from Mr. Martins' Ecstatic Orange, which premiered in 1987, and has not been performed since 1994. "Purple" is the second movement of Ecstatic Orange, and is set to a commissioned score by contemporary American composer Michael Torke.

The evening will also feature a selection of NYCB repertory highlights including excerpts from Balanchine's Stars and Stripes and Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Robbins' N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, Mr. Martins' Friandises, and Mr. Elo's Slice to Sharp, which premiered as part of the 2006 Diamond Project. In addition, the evening will mark the return to the repertory of Mr. Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance), which was created in honor of the Richard Rodgers centennial in 2002, and has not been performed in New York since the 2003 spring season.

The Opening Night Benefit is sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Chairmen are Kathryn & David W. Heleniak, Barbara Cirkva Schumacher, and Patricia & Tom Shiah, with Corporate Chairmen Melody K. & Samuel A. DiPiazza.

Performance-only tickets for the Opening Night Benefit are priced from $20 to $100. Beginning Monday, September 25, they will be available through www.nycballet.com, at the New York State Theater Box Office, or through CenterCharge at 212-721-6500.

Gala tickets, which include a pre-performance cocktail reception, the performance, and a black-tie supper ball following the performance, are available through the NYCB Special Events Office by calling 212-870-5585.

The New York State Theater is located on the Lincoln Center Plaza at Columbus Avenue at 63rd Street. For general information on tickets for any New York City Ballet performance, call 212-870-5570, or visit www.nycballet.com.

Major support for new work is provided by The Irene Diamond Fund, members of the New Combinations Fund, and contributors to the Repertory Fund.

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Even though there's less Balanchine than hoped, I'm still glad I gave in and bought tickets for the Gala. The reason is Ratmansky's 10 minute ballet Middle Duet. This work, created on Daria Pavlenko and Islam Baimuradov and later danced by the likes of Zakharova and Merkuriev, is said to reflect Forsythe's influence on the then young choreographer. Described as carrying passion to rapturous extremes, this dance of constant movement that emphasizes balance and flexibility, should present a wonderful challenge to Maria Kowroski and Albert Evans!

Hopefully this is yet another step leading to deeper association between NYCB and The Bolshoi (Ratmansky has announced a new Wheeldon ballet for the Bolshoi later this season, and lots of Balanchine).

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