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Sarasota Update to Fall 2020 Season


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Sarasota Ballet has sent out the following email regarding changes to their upcoming season:

The Sarasota Ballet Announces an Important Update to our Fall Season in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Company’s opening three programs of its 30th Anniversary Season will occur as specially devised and purposely filmed programs that will be streamed to ticket buyers.

The Sarasota Ballet today announces that we will be offering unique and specifically filmed performances that will be streamed to ticket buyers, and will replace in-theater performances for the first 3 programs of our 30th Anniversary Season. The decision to do so has been made in order to safeguard audience members, dancers, and staff from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while also allowing the Company to continue to perform so that the audience will be able to experience remarkable ballets this coming Season.

“While we’re still finalizing the exact programming elements, this newly created Digital Fall Season is something we’re all excited about,” explains Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “Our aim is to continue to bring breathtaking works to the stage and ensure that we’re keeping the safety of our dancers in mind. Therefore, as we start this new project, we will focus on ballets and works that have smaller casts in order to limit the number of dancers rehearsing together. Additionally, we are continuing to investigate other innovative performance experiences for audience members and patrons of The Sarasota Ballet.”

The Digital Fall Season will emulate as close as possible the traditional experience audience members expect from The Sarasota Ballet. Additionally, the streamed performances will include extra features to bring audience members behind the scenes with special guest interviews and rehearsal clips, and a look into the process of a world premiere. The three programs will be released to ticket holders at approximately the same dates that the three in-theater programs were scheduled to open. The ballets will be filmed with multiple cameras to ensure audiences can see every aspect of the performance. These programs will then be emailed to ticket holders, who can watch the performance at their leisure over a period of time.

“Since the pandemic hit, we’ve worked tirelessly to support our dancers and staff through this extraordinary time,” says Joseph Volpe, Executive Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “It’s the reason why, after we cancelled most of our Spring Season, we continued to pay all our dancers through to the end of their contracts. As we open this newly created Digital Fall Season, we hope that our audience members will engage with these performances, and our donors will remain steadfast in their investment in this great Company.”

Webb adds, “Even though there are still relative unknowns at play, we are still planning on bringing all the dancers back in January, and we all look forward to theaters fully opening in the New Year.”

Full programming details for the October, November, and December programs will be announced in the future. Subscribers who currently have tickets for the first three programs of The Sarasota Ballet’s 30th Anniversary Season will be contacted shortly regarding their ticketing options.

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29 minutes ago, fiddleback said:

Sarasota Ballet has sent out the following email regarding changes to their upcoming season:

The Sarasota Ballet Announces an Important Update to our Fall Season in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Company’s opening three programs of its 30th Anniversary Season will occur as specially devised and purposely filmed programs that will be streamed to ticket buyers. . . .
Full programming details for the October, November, and December programs will be announced in the future. Subscribers who currently have tickets for the first three programs of The Sarasota Ballet’s 30th Anniversary Season will be contacted shortly regarding their ticketing options.

I have been hoping that companies would try this. I'll be curious to see how much they charge to watch these.  From their web site, these are the three programs:

PURITY IN MOTION (Program 1)

23 – 25 October 2020
FSU Center for the Performing Arts

George Balanchine's Donizetti Variations
Ricardo Graziano's Amorosa
Paul Taylor's Company B

BEYOND EXPRESSION (Program 2)

20 – 21 November 2020
Sarasota Opera House

Sir Frederick Ashton's Birthday Offering
Sir Frederick Ashton's Dante Sonata
Sir David Bintley's The Spider's Feast

ROMEO & JULIET (Program 3)
18 – 19 December 2020
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Sir Frederick Ashton's Romeo & Juliet
Composed by Sergei Prokofiev

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Sarasota Ballet has just announced that tickets are on sale for their fall digital season. Very impressive, especially the Ashton Program I

https://mailchi.mp/03b81d43e9af/30th-anniversary-digital-fall-season-programming-tickets?e=68308311cb

The Sarasota Ballet's Digital Fall Season
Tickets and Subscriptions Available!

The Sarasota Ballet is ecstatic to announce that tickets for our Digital Fall Season, encompassing the first three programs of our 30th Anniversary Season, are officially available! Each program of our Digital Fall Season has been designed around a specific balletic theme, to deliver an artistic experience comparable to that of our in-person programs. Our inaugural Digital Program celebrates the choreographic creations of Sir Frederick Ashton, featuring a collection of solos, pas de deux, and extracts that highlight Ashton's unique synthesis of classical technique, musicality, and narrative flair.

Our Digital Programs also include extra features to bring audience members behind the scenes, such as special guest interviews, rehearsal clips, and more. On scheduled dates corresponding to our standard Season schedule, these Programs will be emailed to ticket holders, who can watch the performance at their leisure over a period of five days.
Digital single tickets for each program are available for sale on our website for $35. If you would like to see all three programs of our Digital Fall Season, a discounted Digital Subscription option is also available for $90.

Full Season and Flex Four Ballet Subscribers (excluding Digital Subscribers) of The Sarasota Ballet will additionally gain exclusive access to a look into the process of creating and rehearsing a ballet world premiere.
Click Here to Buy Single Tickets
Click Here to Buy The Digital Fall Subscription
 

How to Watch


On the morning of the Performance release, all ticket buyers will receive a personalized private link that will enable you to view the Program from the comfort of your home via the Vimeo media platform. To watch using your television, you can connect your computer via a video cable such as an HDMI cable, depending on your computer's video out connections. Verify the manufacture and model of your computer in advance, to determine which cable you will need. In addition, you can watch each Program on your smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad), and even wirelessly connect these devices to certain televisions (such as Smart TVs) to experience ballet in your home theater environment without plugging in additional devices.
 
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Digital Program 1 - 23 October 2020

Featuring performances and excerpts of Sir Frederick Ashton's:

Meditation from Thaïs - first performed by Dame Antoinette Sibley and Sir Anthony Dowell 21 March 1971, to music by Jules Massenet

Monotones II - first performed by The Royal Ballet 24 March 1965, to music by Erik Satie orchestrated by Claude Debussy and Alexis Roland-Manuel

Façade, Extracts - first performed by the Camargo Society 26 April 1931, set to William Walton's score originally created as a setting for the poetry of Edith Sitwell

Romeo & Juliet, Balcony pas de deux - first performed by Royal Danish Ballet 19 May 1955, to music by Serge Prokofiev

La chatte métamorphosée en femme - first performed by Merle Park 31 March 1985, to music by Jacques Offenbach arranged by Philip Gammon

The Sleeping Beauty, Vision Solo - first performed by Sadler's Wells Ballet 20 February 1946, to music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Les Patineurs, Extracts - first performed by Vic-Wells Ballet 16 February 1937, to music by Giacomo Meyerbeer arranged by Constant Lambert

Additional content includes rehearsal footage, along with coaching and an interview with retired British ballet dancer and former Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet Sir Anthony Dowell
 
Single Tickets to Digital Program 1
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Digital Program 2 - 20 November 2020

Featuring performances and excerpts of the works of George Balanchine, such as:

Tarantella - first performed by New York City Ballet 7 January 1964, to music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk reorchestrated by Hershy Kay

The Four Temperaments, Extracts - first performed by Ballet Society 20 November 1946, to music by Paul Hindemith

Donizetti Variations, pas de deux - first performed by New York City Ballet 16 November 1960, to music by Gaetano Donizetti from the opera Don Sebastien

Additional content to be announced
 
Single Tickets to Digital Program 2
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Digital Program 3 - 18 December 2020


Programming and additional content to be announced
Single Tickets to Digital Program 3
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Find out more on our website!
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I bought the three-performance digital subscription and just watched the first program, all Ashton. What a treat! I had planned on seeing them at the Joyce last August, but that was cancelled, of course. I'm glad to see that several companies are figuring out how to bring in some revenue and keep their dancers employed with these digital programs. The way things are evolving, this might be all we see in spring 2021 as well.

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9 minutes ago, SandyMcKean said:

Hmmmmmm....

I was thinking of buying a "ticket" to the Ashton program (program 1), but it says "Sold Out". How can a streamed digital program sell out? It also says that the program is available for a "period of time". Anyone know for how long that is?

This first program is available through October 27 - perhaps the cut off time has been reached?

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2 hours ago, SandyMcKean said:

Hmmmmmm....

I was thinking of buying a "ticket" to the Ashton program (program 1), but it says "Sold Out". How can a streamed digital program sell out? It also says that the program is available for a "period of time". Anyone know for how long that is?

I was doing the same. Saw that access for first program was through today. Oh well, they missed out on $90.

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2 hours ago, Dale said:

I was doing the same. Saw that access for first program was through today. Oh well, they missed out on $90.

It was $90 for the three-program series. Individual ones are $35. If they're smart, they'll do an encore for the Ashton program, which is by far the most unique offering.

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3 hours ago, California said:

It was $90 for the three-program series. Individual ones are $35. If they're smart, they'll do an encore for the Ashton program, which is by far the most unique offering.

Yes, I am aware of the price. I was going to buy the three-program package. Hope you're right on an encore but I doubt they will. 

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Speaking of comfort food! The second digital program by Sarasota Ballet premiered today and is available through Tuesday. All Balanchine! Tarantella + excerpts from Donizetti, 4Ts, Who Cares, Western. There are so many young, well-trained dancers in the US, that it's great they have opportunities to perform at these smaller regional companies. I hope those companies survive COVID. I'm sure people who enjoy a steady diet of NYCB performances could nitpick details of their performance, but this is a wonderful treat for audience and dancers alike.

The final program has been announced for December. I'm not familiar with most of these pieces, but the choreographers are well-regarded, and it looks promising:

Digital Program 3

Featuring performances and excerpts of works including:

  • Christopher Wheeldon's The American
  • Sir Matthew Bourne's The Infernal Galop, Merman Solo
  • Sir Peter Wright's The Mirror Walkers
  • Sir Peter Wright's Summertide
  • Dominic Walsh's Clair de Lune
  • Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto
  • Ricardo Graziano's Amorosa, pas de deux
  • Additional one-act ballet and extra content to be announced.

https://www.sarasotaballet.org/digital-fall-season-2020

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Sarasota has just announced a digital spring season for 2021:

 
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30th Anniversary Season
Winter - Spring Updates

Dear Sarasota Ballet Family,

With holidays around the corner and 2020 coming to a close in just a few weeks, we wanted to take this opportunity to connect with you and let you know about our plans for the remainder of our 30th Anniversary Season. We are eager to share with you several significant changes to our current 2020-21 Season, in order to ensure a safe and artistically satisfying ballet experience. These Season updates will make it possible for audience members to celebrate this important anniversary with us both digitally and in person. Read on to find out more!
 
We have two major updates to our upcoming third Digital Program. First, we are excited to announce that Digital Program 3 will include Peter Darrell's Othello, a balletic adaptation of William Shakespeare's iconic drama. Darrell's Othello distills the narrative beats of the source play into a one-act production that conveys the story through choreographic nuance and deep characterization. Additionally, to accommodate for rehearsal schedule updates, Digital Program 3 will now be presented to watch 1 - 5 January 2021, having moved two weeks from its originally scheduled viewing dates.
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With COVID-19's impact continuing into 2021, we reaffirm our dedication to providing a safe and engaging ballet experience accessible to everyone. Therefore, today we announce that the remainder of The Sarasota Ballet's 2020-21 Season will be converted to a digitally formatted series of Programs, titled our Digital Winter - Spring Season. This decision was made with the safety and well-being of our dancers as well as our audience in mind, and we encourage you to join us for our upcoming digital performances.
For ballet fans eager to return to live ballet performances and maintain social distancing, we have multiple options in store. In addition to our Digital Winter - Spring Season, we will be scheduling several special outdoor performances over the rest of our Season. These outdoor ballet events will be designed with safety measures in place so that you can comfortably enjoy these in-person ballet events. Dates for outdoor performances will be announced in a future communication.
We are also happy to invite our Full Season and Flex Four Ballet Subscribers to an exclusive subscriber performance later on in the Season. More information regarding this will be communicated to Subscribers in the future.
This substantial update to the rest of our 30th Anniversary Season also requires changes to our planned performance dates and lineup. While some ballets originally planned for the Season are compatible with the new performance format, others were not. Below you will find a listing of the updated performance dates, as well as the ballets scheduled to be performed this Season!
DIGITAL PROGRAM 3
1 - 5 January 2021
Peter Darrell's Othello
Christopher Wheeldon's The American, Pas de Deux
Sir Matthew Bourne's The Infernal Galop, Merman Solo
Sir Peter Wright's The Mirror Walkers
Sir Peter Wright's Summertide
Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto, Pas de Deux
Dominic Walsh's Clair de Lune
DIGITAL PROGRAM 4
29 January - 2 February 2021
Paul Taylor's Company B
Paul Taylor's Brandenburgs
DIGITAL PROGRAM 5
26 February - 2 March 2021
George Balanchine's Donizetti Variations
Ricardo Graziano's Amorosa
DIGITAL PROGRAM 6
23 - 27 April 2021
George Balanchine's Serenade
Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations
DIGITAL PROGRAM 7
21 - 25 May 2021
Sir Frederick Ashton's Birthday Offering
Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs
 
Purchase Your Tickets Today
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We hope these announcements have provided clarity regarding The Sarasota Ballet's plans for the next few months. Ticket holders can also expect to receive additional details regarding their tickets via another email to be sent tomorrow. Once again, we appreciate your patience and support as we strive, as always, to deliver world-class ballet to the Sarasota community and beyond.

With much love,
The Sarasota Ballet
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16 minutes ago, The Traveling Ballerina said:

The company looks fantastic in their third program! Here's my thoughts about it. Sarasota Ballet really has a great repertory and I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of the season.

Thanks for your thoughts on this program. I've subscribed for their entire year of digital performances and I am enjoying them. I had planned to see this company last August at the Joyce and hope they're able to return in the future so we can see them in the theater.

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50 minutes ago, California said:

Thanks for your thoughts on this program. I've subscribed for their entire year of digital performances and I am enjoying them. I had planned to see this company last August at the Joyce and hope they're able to return in the future so we can see them in the theater.

It would be wonderful to see them in person! Do you have a favorite from the three programs so far?

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24 minutes ago, The Traveling Ballerina said:

It would be wonderful to see them in person! Do you have a favorite from the three programs so far?

I especially enjoyed program one with excerpts from Ashton -- especially since we don't often see his work anymore. But they have all been very enjoyable.

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35 minutes ago, The Traveling Ballerina said:

Last night I watched and reviewed the company's fifth program, which I think is wonderfully curated. Each time I see Sarasota Ballet, I am more impressed; I really hope that their digital presence this year brings them more global recognition. 

Totally agree! They were scheduled for a week at the Joyce in August 2020, which I had planned to attend. I hope they are able to reschedule for 2022. Marcelo Gomes has done some of their Ashton rep with them, an extra bonus for those of us who miss him, although he's not in any of the digital subscription performances so far.

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Sarasota Ballet just announced an update to its sixth program in late April, replacing Serenade with two pieces by Ashton. (I confess that, given how regularly we have opportunities to see Serenade, I'm really pleased by this.)

Important Updates to
Digital Program 6

Today we have announced that, in maintaining the health and safety of the Company's dancers with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the planned performance of George Balanchine’s Serenade in Digital Program 6 will be replaced with two ballets choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton: Valses nobles et sentimentales and The Walk to the Paradise Garden. We are excited to bring these beautiful Ashton works back to the stage, especially alongside another pivotal Ashton ballet, Façade.
 
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“While we were looking forward to bringing Balanchine’s Serenade back this Season, we are overjoyed to see the return of such treasured Ashton works in its stead,” says Director of The Sarasota Ballet, Iain Webb. “It was an honor to bring Valses back to life in 2012, as at that time it had not been staged since Sir Fred revived it for the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet. In fact, I fondly remember performing in that very production, alongside Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare, so it brings me great personal joy to see Valses nobles et sentimentales appear once more. The Walk to the Paradise Garden is an unusual example of Ashton's choreography. The two lovers play against each other with nuanced performances that express the duality of a love eternal and their delicate mortality, emphasized through its inevitable and haunting climax.”
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As a ticket holder to Digital Program 6, we wanted to be certain you received this announcement as soon as possible. Of course, this change in programming requires no action on your part; on the morning of 23 April, you will receive a performance link including all three Ashton ballets. Read on to find out more about these beautiful works!

Digital Program 6 – 23 - 27 April 2021

The Sarasota Ballet's Digital Program 6 features:

Sir Frederick Ashton's Valses nobles et sentimentales
Long considered one of Ashton’s lost works, Valses nobles et sentimentales was revived by The Sarasota Ballet in 2012 for its American premiere, the first time the ballet had been seen worldwide in over twenty-five years. It has been performed several times since for special occasions – as part of The Sarasota Ballet’s 2014 Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, on tour at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2016, all to critical acclaim.

Sir Frederick Ashton's The Walk to the Paradise Garden
The Walk to the Paradise Garden was created in 1972 for The Royal Ballet's Benevolent Fund Gala, with a score and narrative theme sourced from Frederick Delius’ opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet. The original cast featured Merle Park and David Wall as the lovers, with Derek Rencher as a chalk-white vision of Death. Ashton’s choreography brought to the piece a depth of emotion and characterization uncommon in such a small-scale ballet; to that end, renowned dance historian David Vaughan wrote in his book Frederick Ashton And His Ballets, “Like Thaïs, it was no mere divertissement but a ballet in miniature, saying as much in a few minutes as many full-length ballets.”

Sir Frederick Ashton's Façade
One of Ashton's earliest choreographed works first performed by the Camargo Society in 1931, Façade is a series of divertissements described by ballet critic Debra Crane as "choreographic satires on popular dance forms and their dancers." Thematically based on a collection of eponymous poems by Edith Sitwell and set to music crafted by William Walton originally for the purpose of accompanying a recital of this poetry, Façade has since come to be known as a signature Ashton display of wit and musicality.

 
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Sarasota Ballet's 6th and final digital program is running this weekend, through Tuesday, with three Ashton ballets. I'm no expert on Ashton, but they are all very nicely done. $35 for the remaining program. Unlimited viewing.

https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/digital-program-6

Sir Frederick Ashton's Valses nobles et sentimentales
Sir Frederick Ashton's The Walk to the Paradise Garden

Sir Frederick Ashton's Façade
 

 

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Sarasota's latest programme provided an opportunity to see three Ashton works long neglected in London. We should have had the opportunity to see Valses Nobles et Sentimentales as part of a mixed bill which was due to be staged in the Linbury last summer but Covid put paid to that. This made the opportunity to see a streamed performance of Valses Nobles et Sentimentales even more welcome. This ballet is one of a number of neglected works which Ashton  revived towards the end of his life. I remember seeing it at Sadler's Wells in the late 1980's and I never understood why the SWRB did not keep it in its active repertory.

Seen in isolation, which is how I saw it in 1987, I did not realise how much of a watershed the war had been in terms of Ashton's stylistic choices. Valses Nobles, together with Symphonic Variations and Cinderella can,and perhaps should, be seen as a manifestation of Ashton's post war statement about the central role which classical ballet and the ecole de danse played in his concept of dance. Valses Nobles was the second occasion on which he had used this particular Ravel score but where in his 1935 ballet for Rambert he had created a narrative work in 1947 there is no obvious story and the relationship between the dancers is elusive and hinted at, and what really matters is the dance. As the streamed performance gave me the opportunity to watch the ballet more than once I began to see any number of choreographic ideas that Ashton would use again in later works often to entirely different effect. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to see the work again and even more grateful to see it more than once.

I almost feel that it is unfair to write about The Walk to the Paradise Garden as the only cast ever seen in it in London were the dancers for whom it was made. This is a considerable advantage for any dancer but the original cast had other advantages both Wall and Park were well suited in height and both had considerable experience in handling tricky lifts, not only in making  them look normal and natural but in using them to expressive effect. Before I saw the performance I had seen a comment about the performance which suggested that the essence of this ballet was the Bolshoi lifts which it contains. But that is not what struck me when I first saw it in the 1970's. What I saw was a short and very effective narrative work.  I am sure the technical challenges which the lifts used in the ballet present are the last thing Ashton intended the audience should be aware of in performance.  I hope this is not seen as being unfair but to make this ballet work the dancers need to have complete technical mastery of the choreography so that the entire piece appears spontaneous and effortless . The  audience should never be aware of any of the challenges the choreography presents in performance. I was pleased to have seen the piece again. I should certainly like to see it revived at Covent Garden say with Hayward and Bracewell.

Finally Facade a ballet about dancing made for the Camargo Society first performed in !931. It wears its years well and it is always a pleasure to see it. Its neglect at Covent Garden is perplexing as it works with audiences who know a great deal about dance and those who know nothing. Perhaps the powers that be at the Royal Ballet are suffering from a bad case of earnestness and deem this ballet too frivolous. Thank goodness the Webbs are not of that opinion.

 

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I really liked this program. When I'm feeling low, I put on Ashton's Capriol Suite from the NYTB site. Something about the combination of social and court dancing is healing, it's a friendly work. The program brings these aspects together too, a happy accident as the company originally planned other ballets which fell through.

Valses nobles takes a while to appreciate. At first it looks like another chic production from yesteryear with flouncy dresses and white gloves. But as Ashton Fan says, seeing it again – and again – it slowly releases its perfume. In a way I can't pin down, it has a religious quality as if goddess Aphrodite is pulling the strings. I'm thinking especially of the part where the two main men bow to the principal woman as she covers her face with her arm (Aphrodite doesn't look at you direct, she was called the side-glancer) and also the use of the screens which conceal as much as they reveal.

The lift in the Paradise Garden where she is held vertically upside down reminded me of an Italian cypress tree which is supposed to be a symbol of death. I wonder if that was in Ashton's mind. In contrast, loved the daftness of Facade. I hear it called camp (which sounds snipey and I suspect is homophobic) but I think it all fits with the spiritual side of Ashton's work, like the Hopi koshares.

Any chance for more streaming when Sarasota returns to live shows?

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