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Festival Ballet Theatre's Premieres & Repertoire

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Festival Ballet Theatre is the ballet company who took over everything associated with the former Ballet Pacifica, located in Orange County, California. My daughter is an advanced student at the ballet school associated with this professional company, however, she is not a performer in this program. I am posting an announcement of the upcoming performances on October 17th and 18th at the Irvine Barclay Theatre because it is amazing the caliber of the people who have been staging this show, including Yury Fateyev, the Acting Director of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, former ABT principals, and former San Francisco Ballet principal Evelyn Cisneros. Also performing will be the San Francisco Ballet Trainees Parrish Maynard's Fractals. It really looks to be a great show and should be fun to watch!


Premieres & Repertoire - Opening Concert of the 2009-2010 Season

Irvine Barclay Theatre | October 17 & 18, 2009

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - What do Antony Tudor, Val Caniparoli, Alice in Wonderland and the San Francisco Ballet School Trainees have in common? All - and more - can be seen on Festival Ballet Theatre's multi-faceted opening program of the 2009-2010 season at Irvine Barclay Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. The company will also present a one-hour special family performance of Alice in Wonderland on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.

An eclectic program of five company premieres features Antony Tudor's Continuo, Val Caniparoli's Street Songs, and a visit by the San Francisco Ballet School Trainees in Parrish Maynard's Fractals.

Festival Ballet Theatre, one of Southern California's most vibrant and accomplished ballet companies, kicks off the season with the company premiere of Emmy Award-winning choreographer Robert Sund's Alice in Wonderland. Based on Lewis Carroll's classic tale, this colorful and whimsical production is a heart-racing adventure down the Rabbit Hole, into WonderlandGarden and through the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. During the imaginative journey, audiences will see all their favorite Alice characters - from the White Rabbit, to the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, and the infamous Queen of Hearts. Know for his innovative style and musicality, Sund has set Alice to a selection of Jean Sibelius' lyrical melodies.

The diverse blend of ballets continues with four additional works new to the company's repertory. Legendary choreographer Antony Tudor's rarely-performed, abstract ballet for six dancers, Continuo, is being restaged for the Company by American Ballet Theatre principals Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. An elegant study in lyricism, the ballet is set to Johann Pachelbl's Cannon in D. Created in 1971 for The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, dance notables believe it to be the precursor to Tudor's highly-acclaimed The Leaves Are Fading. One of our nation's most sought after choreographers, Val Caniparoli's powerful and vigorous Street Songs will be staged by former San Francisco Ballet principal Evelyn Cisneros. Set to a charming score by Carl Orff, Street Songs was created for Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1980. It was Caniparoli's first ballet, and a critical hit for this versatile choreographer. The last of the five company premieres on this opening concert are two Russian-style classics seldom seen in the U.S. and appropriately staged for the Company by Yury Fateyev, acting director of Russia's iconic Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet. La Vivandière (or Markitenka, as it is known in Russia) is a pas de six choreographed by Arthur Saint Léon and Fanny Cerrito. First presented in 1844 by the Ballet of Her Majesty's Theatre in London, England, the ballet is set to music by Cesare Pugni. Also set to a Pugni score, is the lively Animated Frescoes excerpt from The Little Humpbacked Horse. Based on a poem by Pyotr Pavlovich Yershov and originally choreographed by Saint Léon, this Marius Petipa version of the Russian folk tale showcases four female dancers in a series of technically demanding variations.

Rounding out the program, FBT welcomes back the elite San Francisco Ballet School Trainees in Parrish Maynard's Fractals. Inspired by a Forsythe Technologies Workshop held during the San Francisco Ballet School Summer Session in 2008, Fractals was created especially for the Trainees with music by Ken Kirchner. One of the six talented dancers featured in Fractals will be Huntington Beach-native Bryn Gilbert, a former student of Southland Ballet Academy, the official school of Festival Ballet Theatre an inaugural member of FBT II, Festival Ballet Theatre's junior company; and the 2008 Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award Winner.

Especially for families, on Saturday, October 17 at 2 p.m., FBT will present a one-hour version of Sund's Alice in Wonderland, designed to introduce children and families to the beauty of ballet.

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I thought I'd pop in and make a quick review of the performance of Premieres & Repertoire by Festival Ballet Theatre. I saw the Sunday matinee show and the word I'd use to describe it is delightful...the second word would be eclectic...it definitely was both of these.

For those who enjoy all different types of ballets, this was a performance for you. The use of the different choreographers was really wonderful. An outstanding job was done by all of them. My favorite performance of all was Parrish Maynard's Fractals performed by the SF Ballet Trainees. Wow! What a great performance. I love it and didn't want the music to stop. Really exciting to watch.

I absolutely loved Continuo by Antony Tudor which was staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. What a beautiful piece, both visually and the accompanying music. I had tears well up in my eyes it was so moving to me. I find it hard to believe it is rarely performed because it is gorgeous. A real treat.

I also loved Street Song's, a really lighthearted piece staged by Evelyn Cisneros. Delightful! Yury Fateyev's classically Russian pieces were performed charmingly and were lovely to watch, and the first act was Robert Sund's Alice in Wonderland....a lovely production, and a great choice for the younger viewers, and Sund even took a bow on stage.

All in all, it was a wonderful treat to watch such an eclectic performance of different styles of ballet. It was a very enjoyable outing.

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Thanks for your review kitcat.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Tudor's Continuo by both ABT Studio Company (now ABT II) and New York Theatre Ballet. You are right, it is a lovely piece. According to program notes, if I remember correctly, Tudor made Continuo on his students at Juilliard as a kind of sketch when he was preparing to work on The Leaves are Fading. It has much of the sweet, romantic quality of the later ballet.

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