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Sarasota Ballet's 2013-2014 season

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SARASOTA BALLET — 2013-2014 Season

  • Oct. 25-28: "Theatre of Dreams," choreography by company dancers. FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Nov. 22-23: George Balanchine's "Serenade," Frederick Ashton's "Les Illuminations" and Balanchine's "Who Cares?" Sarasota Opera House. Live music by Sarasota Orchestra.[/color]
  • Dec. 20-21: Matthew Hart's "John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker." Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Live music by Sarasota Orchestra.
  • ]Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2014: Balanchine's "Four Temperaments," Will Tuckett world premiere, Ashton's "Sinfonietta." FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Feb. 28-March 3, 2014: World premiere by Ricardo "Graziano, Ashton's "Monotones I & II," and Agnes DeMille's "Rodeo." FSU CEnter for the Performing Arts.
  • Apr. 4-5, 2014: Ashton's "Birthday Offering," Graziano's "Symphony of Sorrows" and Antony Tudor's "Gala Performance." Sarasota Opera House.
  • April 25-26, 2014: Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru & Friends. Sarasota Opera House.
  • Early May 2014: Ashton Festival, commemorating 25th anniversary of the death of Sir Fredick Ashton. With performances, lectures, gala and other events TBD.
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Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri (his wife) are probably the main reason for the programming. They are making Sarasota Ballet an Ashton company! It is a small company and only some of the shows are with a live orchestra, but with those two at the helm, I suspect the company will grow.

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By the way, Webb hopes to do Ashton's "Foyer de la Danse" which he says is a "lost" ballet and only exists on film. He wants to do it during their Ashton Festival in May 2014. I don't know anything about the ballet, but I figured I should post this since many here on this forum might know about it and have interest in that being done!

I am going to their "La Fille Mal Gardee" tonight!

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Fantastic programs! I'll be a frequent flyer to Sarasota next season. smile.png

Kudos to this company for going against the 'pop tide' of Alices and Draculas and, instead, programing quality ballet from the 20th C. When was the last time that we saw Gala Performance or Les Illuminations on any bill? Sarasota rocks!

Are there some nice hotels within walking distance of the company's theater?

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There are nice hotels (and often very expensive during season) nearby, but I think if you stay on the outskirts of downtown the prices are reasonable. If money is not a problem you will find plenty of places near all three of their performance venues. They perform at the Sarasota Opera House sometimes and sometimes at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts (a very beautiful theatre actually), and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, so PAY ATTENTION to the venue when you purchase tickets!!! All places are fairly close to each other by car though so if you discover you are at the wrong place it isn't too hard to get to the other place within minutes. Sarasota Opera House is owned by the opera company and is downtown so lots of hotels nearby within walking distance (but fairly expensive). Van Wezel is the performing arts center for touring acts, musicals, etc. and there are a couple of hotels right near it but probably expensive also. It is fairly close to downtown also. Just northeast of downtown the FSU Center is the prettiest venue, in my opinion, but it has a tiny stage (but looks like a jewel box horseshoe shaped theatre on the inside), and the hotels near that are sort of a long walk but can be walked, but it is a very, very busy intersection of two main streets. This FSU venue is mainly for plays, but Sarasota Ballet uses all three places. Sort of strange situation, I guess. I think a rental car might be best if you stay near the FSU venue. It is sort of too far to walk to downtown but in a car it is a short drive. The Ringling Museum is right next to the FSU Center. It has beautiful gardens, a mansion, and circus museum as well as art museum. It is worth a visit too.

Downtown Sarasota has experienced a Renaissance of sorts. When I lived in Tampa and first started attending Sarasota Opera for the rare Verdi operas, the downtown was dead and closed up for the evening. The restaurants were "okay," but now there are tons of wonderful restaurants, shops some that stay open at night, etc. It is really a lovely, quaint downtown now by American standards.

I think you can get by without a car once you make your way to the downtown-ish area, but I think most visitors would be happier to have a rental car for freedom of movement. Basically, I suggest a car rental.

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I think if the performance is at the Sarasota Opera House you can easily stay nearby and walk. The Sarasota Opera House is smack inside the downtown area. I think you will want to pay attention to how many miles a hotel is from the USF Center or the Van Wezel if the performances are in either of those two places when you go. Van Wezel is somewhat close to downtown but a sort of longish walk on a busy road. And, like I said, the USF Center has hotels close to it but it is a very busy road and not a pleasant walk I don't think. And the good restaurants are going to be downtown which would probably require transportation if the performance is at the USF Center and you stay near the USF Center. However, I do think there are probably restaurants inside the hotels close to the USF Center. So it isn't that bad. I just think the downtown area is going to be the best place to stay visually, for restaurants, walking around. The hotels near the USF Center don't strike me as nice as the downtown ones, but I have never stayed in them. Be warned that probably anything at the USF Center will probably not have an orchestra since it is so small.

Just got back from Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee by the Sarasota Ballet, and it was charming. They worked hard and did really well. It is a small company, so this was probably a major undertaking for them, and they did well. They used the sets and costumes you see in the dvd available w/Costa and Nunez. Kate Hornea and Ricardo Graziano were the two romantic leads, who kissed very passionately and gave their all to these roles. Logan Learned as Alain was impressive. I have seen him in several things, and he is perfect for this role b/c he specializes in the nerds, creepy guys, etc., but he is a great dancer too and he can do serious dancing too, but I think his small size limits him in casting unfortunately. Rick Bertoni was hilarious as the Widow Simone.

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balletgirl, I thought down the road (University, I think) east of the Ringling there were a couple of decent hotels across from each other, but it is a bit of a trek but you can walk it (at least I thought...maybe it just seemed close b/c I was in a car and saw these hotels as I drove by). However, I do think it is an unpleasant walk due to the traffic and so I do think Natalia would be happier having a car if the performance is at the FSU Center. And I have not stayed at those hotels, so I have no idea how good they are, but they looked large and they were well known names, although I can't remember which hotels they were.

Yes, that review of Fille was great! It was a charming evening! I was glad I drove down for it!

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I'll pray & hope that the Ashton celebration in May 2014 & that the regular-season perfs with Illuminations and Gala Performance happen in the Sarasota Opera House. If not, I hope that taxis between FSU and downtown hotels are readily available. In all of my years of traveling to over 70 countries on all continents (exceptAntarctica), the only real problem that I've encountered with transport between theaters-hotels was in South Africa (esp. Jo'burg-Pretoria area) where, I believe, the law dictates that all citizens must drive (or else be stuck in suburban limbo). Taxis very, very hard to find. Buses few and far between. Please tell me that the Sarasota Metro area is not the American Pretoria. smile.png

p.s. - Ah...I see that my two programs of choice (Nov & April) are indeed in the SOH. Yahoo!!! So now I only need to hear that the Ashton Festival will also be at the SOH.

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Hotel Indigo, the Hyatt Regency & (for those with big bucks) the Ritz Carlton were all recommended to me as being fairly close to the SOH. The Indigo appears to be the closest but is the smallest (95 rooms). All can be booked through the big travel sites.

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Sarasota Opera House will be the easiest place to see performances b/c it is within walking of many nice hotels, many nice restaurants, etc. I just ate at a new restaurant called Mosaic. I had a quail appetizer and a vegetable cous cous to die for as the entree.....loved it. I have also enjoyed Cafe Amici, El Greco Cafe, Barnacle Bill's and several others. All of these places are within walking distance of the opera house. Barnacle Bill's used to look like a place that sailors might eat, but they have made it look more elegant and "nice" now. Part of me liked it when it was more of a dive (with good seafood).

There are some nice shops too. Brooks Brothers for men and several independent little shops for women. If you stay downtown you won't need a car at all.....just walk to the opera house and restaurants.

I think the November performances are listed with orchestra but the April performances are not. Don't know if that means for sure no orchestra or what.

By the way, I am sure there are taxis. You might have to call one though, b/c I don't see them just sitting around waiting like in other cities, but there are surely taxis. Florida is a driving state for the most part and most people drive their own cars but there are always taxis you can call.

And FYI, the Sarasota Opera House was more of a vaudeville theatre, I believe, back in the 20s. So it has been fashioned into an opera house and renovated again a few years ago. Don't expect an ultra fancy house, although it is not bad at all. Just know you are not entering La Scala!!!

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Forgot to say that the FSU Center is actually the prettiest theatre (but in the worst location for travelers). It looks like a turn of the century horse shoe shaped theatre. But it is very small and I don't think it can have an orchestra in it. I could be wrong (maybe a small one). I don't know if it even has a pit b/c I have never seen one (but I know theatres can remove front seats and and re-open a pit). I don't know if you can remove seats at this place.

The Sarasota Opera House is definitely the most convenient venue though for out-of-town people.

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This is really a wonderful schedule and I wish I lived closer by so I could visit. Also, it is great to learn of one ballet company that is hiring more dancers during the recession, and trying ambitious things.

When you consider the population of the US at 308 million, the country is about 2/3 of the size of Europe. The ballet companies here are equal to most of the regional companies in Europe - but they rarely travel, so no one learns how good they are. The lack of state funding for the arts at the municipal, state and national level also thwarts more broadcasts of the productions.

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.......Don't expect an ultra fancy house, although it is not bad at all. Just know you are not entering La Scala!!!

Don't worry, Birdsall. I'm only expecting greatness on the stage. By the way, the November program (Les Illuminations) dovetails nicely with the Miami City Ballet program (Polyphonia, etc.) in Ft. Lauderdale (a lovely opera house that I've visited...where I met cubanmiamiboy & Jack Reed!). One can catch the last performances of MCB in Ft Lauderdale (Nov 17), then go on to Sarasota and catch the premiere of Les Illuminations on Nov 22). Nice little 'Ballet in Florida' vacation week!

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NEA just announced a new round of grants, including one to Sarasota for the Ashton programs:

Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Inc. (aka The Sarasota Ballet)

$10,000 Sarasota, FL


To support a celebration of the life and works of Sir Frederick Ashton. The celebration will feature performances of Ashton's most historically significant ballets and an exhibit featuring archival materials including photos and costumes.

For the complete list of grants: http://www.nea.gov/news/news13/ArtWorksMarch2013CouncilByState.pdf

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