Masters of Dance Brings Ballets of Sir Frederick Ashton, Christopher Wheeldon, and Jerome Robbins to the Sarasota Stage
16 – 17 November 2018 at the Sarasota Opera House
Sarasota, FL (November 2, 2018) – The Sarasota Ballet’s second production of the Season, Masters of Dance, opens November 16 at the Sarasota Opera House, with a triple bill featuring Sir Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody, Christopher Wheeldon’s There Where She Loved, and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert. For these performances, The Sarasota Ballet will be joined by Guest Artist Mathias Dingman who is a Principal Dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet Pianist Cameron Grant, and the Sarasota Orchestra under the baton of Royal Ballet Principal Guest Conductor Barry Wordsworth. The program offers the first of the Season’s Tributes, honoring the Centennial of Jerome Robbins with the Company Premiere of The Concert and honoring the 30th Anniversary of the passing of Sir Frederick Ashton with the Company Premiere of Rhapsody.
“This is a really exciting production,” says Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “Having Mathias, Barry, Cameron, and the Sarasota Orchestra, as well as the Tributes to Jerome Robbins and Sir Fred, promises to make these performances quite extraordinary. There is also quite a wonderful thread throughout the program with all three ballets. Rhapsody was created on Baryshnikov, who also danced in several of Robbins’ works, and Christopher Wheeldon, who danced many Ashton and Robbins ballets during his time at NYCB and The Royal Ballet. You also have a strong musical link throughout the program with Cameron playing for Rhapsody, There Where She Loved, and The Concert.”
Opening Masters of Dance is the Company Premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Rhapsody. The ballet was created in honor of Ashton’s close friend HM the Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday, and choreographed on Mikhail Baryshnikov, who had requested to perform in a new Ashton ballet as a part of his guesting contract with The Royal Ballet. Rhapsody would become Ashton’s final major work. Set to Sergei Rachmaninov’s renowned Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the ballet combines Ashton’s penchant for musicality, smooth lines, and exquisite details in the upper body, as well as fast and meticulous footwork, with the spectacular bravura that encapsulates Baryshnikov’s artistry. Dance writer and critic Zoë Anderson described the role created on Baryshnikov “…as a dazzling visitor, shooting through the ballet like a comet,” contrasting the female principal role, “…rich in both Ashtonian details and echoes of the classics of The Royal Ballet repertory.”
Christopher Wheeldon, one of the most sought after choreographers of today, offers an intricate and poignant exploration of love with his ballet There Where She Loved. Described by dance critic Sarah Kaufman for The Washington Post as “a searing union of action, vocals and expression,” the ballet is set to songs by Frédéric Chopin and Kurt Weill. Its subtle structure and shifting tone appear in the artful repetition of specific phrases to starkly contrasting music and context. His dancers meet and separate, expressing fleeting moments of joy, ebullient self-confidence, and despairing loss.
Jerome Robbins’ comedic masterpiece The Concert is, in part, a light-hearted satire on dance as well as a comedy on human nature, with Chopin’s music enhancing Robbins’ insights into humanity and the characters on stage. Anna Kisselgoff wrote for The New York Times, “If the female ensemble is always out of sync in the ingenious Mistake Waltz, the passage is as much about human foibles as it is a spoof of ballet. Similarly, the parody pas de deux in The Concert is a reflection of recognizable insecurities.” This truly one-of-a-kind enchanting ballet portrays a cast of quirky and eccentric characters at a piano recital and their laugh-out-loud antics, and also demonstrates Robbins’ signature balance of physical humor and technical virtuosity.
The Sarasota Ballet’s performances of Masters of Dance are sponsored by the SRQ Media Group and the live music for Masters of Dance is sponsored by BMO Private Bank.
Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
15 – 16 November 2018
Sarasota Opera House
Friday, 16 November 2018 at 7:30pm
Saturday, 17 November 2018 at 2:00pm
Saturday, 17 November 2018 at 7:30pm
Rhapsody (Company Premiere)
Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
Music by Sergei Rachmaninov
There Where She Loved
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
Music by Frédéric Chopin and Kurt Weill
The Concert (Company Premiere)
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Packages to The Sarasota Ballet’s 2018 - 2019 Season are on sale now, beginning at $100. For information, please visit www.SarasotaBallet.org or call the box office at 941.359.0099, Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.
Individual tickets for Masters of Dance, starting at $30, are on sale now at www.SarasotaBallet.org or by calling 941.359.0099.
About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990, the mission of The Sarasota Ballet has been enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, as well as the integrity and artistry of its performances. The Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Ninette de Valois, Michel Fokine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. During Webb’s tenure, The Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and twice at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, as well as week-long residencies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York. In May 2017 The Sarasota Ballet performed at the inaugural National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City and in August of 2018 returned to the Joyce Theater for another sold out week-long residency.