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Friday, April 22


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Miami City Ballet visits Minnesota. The backstory of "Serenade" by Rick Nelson for the Star-Tribune.

Balanchine constantly tinkered with his ballets, most especially “Serenade.” Six years after its original production, he added what is now the ballet’s third movement, set to the brisk finale in Tchaikovsky’s score.

Over the decades, steps were altered to suit the skills of particular dancers, and 10 principal female roles were distilled into three (on Wednesday, MCB principal dancer and Minnesota native Simone Messmer will be performing one of them).

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An item on how Prince helped to put Misty Copeland on the celebrity map.

The music star encouraged PBS interviewer Tavis Smiley, with whom he had struck up a friendship, to have Copeland on as a guest. Smiley interviewed Copeland in February 2011.

“Little did we know she would become such a superstar, but as usual Prince had a perfect eye for talent,” Neal Kendall, Smiley’s executive producer at the time, told TheWrap. “It was not about him, it was about how he could help someone he felt was worthy gain attention.”

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"An American in Paris" will open in London next year.

Following their success on Broadway, Robert Fairchild (a New York City Ballet Principal dancer) will play Jerry Mulligan and British Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope will play Lise Dassin. These acclaimed, award-winning stars, who will be making their West End debuts, will lead a company of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians. Further West End casting to be announced.
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Q&A with Barry Wordsworth, who will narrate "A Wedding Bouquet" for the Sarasota Ballet.

Q: Have you narrated it before?

A: I conducted the piece lots when Sir Fred was still alive, but I’ve never narrated it before. The last time the Royal did it, which was 10 or 15 years ago, I conducted and Anthony Dowell did the narration. All kinds of famous actors have done it. I remember long ago wondering if one day I would narrate it. This all came about because I’ve known Maggie (Barbieri) and Iain (Webb, director of the Sarasota Ballet) for 30 years. I had an intermediary contact them because I’ve always wanted to do it. To be doing this at my age, it’s one of the most satisfying things I can imagine. I’m thrilled.

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A review of New York Theatre Ballet by Lauren Gallagher for DanceTabs.

Choreographed by Donald Mahler, NYTB’s abridged Cinderella, like many others before it, owes a large debt to Sir Frederick Ashton. Set to excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev’s spiky score, the choreography is pleasant and features the usual suspects: Cinderella’s melancholic broom pas de deux, camp ugly stepsisters in drag, an odd dance master/teacher, several waltzes and a romantic pas de deux. The individual fairy variations are missing, but two fairies bolster the Fairy Godmother’s wand-waving activities.
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An article on the late Prince's links with the ballet world by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

Maybe he was thinking back to when he’d first caught the ballet bug, back in 1991. He was lured to a performance by a member of the Joffrey Ballet’s board of directors, and the rock star was so smitten that he offered his music for a new work. He even wrote an extended version of his song “Thunder” expressly for the Joffrey’s use. The result, which premiered in 1993, was a four-part, full-length rock ballet called “Billboards,” accompanied by more than a dozen Prince songs, from such platinum albums as “Purple Rain” and “Diamonds and Pearls.”
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Reviews of the BalletBoyz in "Life."

The Arts Desk

Execution of dazzling fluency from the smashing young male dancers (ever growing in strength, poise and focus) and choreography from the top drawer of De Frutos's considerable talent, make it a visual feast; in fact, with its entirely stripped-down "set", Fiction is a reminder that you don't need any set or costume trimmings to shine when the dance is good enough. It's no less of an aural feast, with competing voiceovers reading de Frutos's obituary, an original score by Ben Foskett, and snatches of Donna Summer's belting soul-disco anthem Last Dance. Foskett's score is a cracker, achieving a range of moods from elegiac to caperish all in a jazzy minor key that, like the piece as a whole, hovers just the right distance from sentimentality.

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The Huffington Post

But the barre becomes a crutch, the beefcake acrobatics get stale, and the tongue-in-cheek humor of the obituary quickly gives way to self-indulgence. When a lone dancer shakes off his grief disco-style to Donna Summers’ “Last Dance” in the final frame, the audience-rousing effect feels eye-rollingly manufactured.
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