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Tudor's "The Planets" Revived

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"The Planets," a ballet created by Antony Tudor to the music by Gustav Holst, will receive its first performance in 50 years at Duke University's Reynolds Theater on Friday, March 29 at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, March 31 at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $12 and $14 for the general public and $7 for students. Tickets can be obtained by calling the University Box Office, 919-684-4444.

The ballet was made in 1934 and performed in Europe primarily by Ballet Rambert, a company with which Tudor was long affiliated. The reconstruction effort at Duke, spearheaded by dance professor Tyler Walters, was helped by the participation of Muriel Topaz, a notation translator familiar with Tudor's works, and Donald Mahler, a choreographer who worked with Tudor during his stint as director of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and who staged Tudor's Jardin aux Lilas for the Joffrey Ballet. Celia Franca, the founder of the National Ballet of Canada and a former Rambert dancer who performed The Planets in the '30s and '40s, also came to Durham to help.

The ballet is one of Tudor's shorter works--15 minutes--and "is not recognized as a masterwork," said M'liss Dorrance, associate professor of dance at Duke. ""But it is the last ensemble piece he developed before 'Lilac Garden,' his most famous ballet." The ballet originally had four movements, but this performance will only be of the two (Neptune and Venus) that were notated.

"The Planets" will be performed by Duke students and guest dancers who are students at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Topaz will also give a pre-performance lecture at 7 p.m. Friday. There will also be an symposium on reconstructing the ballet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. Speakers will include Walters, Topaz, Mahler, Franca and Sally Brayley Bliss, trustee and executor of the Tudor ballet trust.

For more information about the performances or symposium, call Christina Eller at the dance program, 919-660-3354.

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