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The Sarasota Ballet Announces Its 2019 – 2020 Season

The Company’s 29th Season will once again feature extraordinary works from some of the great choreographers of the 20th century

Sarasota, FL (April 1, 2019) – The Sarasota Ballet’s Director, Iain Webb, announces today the Company’s 2019 – 2020 Season. Featuring seven programs, the Season demonstrates not only The Sarasota Ballet’s remarkable range and artistry, but also the Company’s passion for performing extraordinary works rarely performed in America. The upcoming Season will include six company premieres—George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Dante Sonata and his full-length Romeo and Juliet, and a yet to be announced ballet by David Bintley. Works that will return to the Sarasota stage include Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Las Hermanas, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Rendezvous, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Matthew Hart’s John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker, as well as an entire program dedicated to the choreography of Sarasota Ballet Resident Choreographer, Ricardo Graziano.

“Over the past 12 years, we have built a reputation for not only our vast and varied repertoire, but also for our dedication and commitment to producing ballets that have the same passion and authenticity on stage today as they had during their original premieres,” explains Webb. “This Season sees an exhilarating mix of company premieres, rare revivals, and beloved ballets returning to our rep. Of course the highlight of the 2019 – 2020 Season will be Sir Frederick Ashton’s Romeo and Juliet. First created for the Royal Danish Ballet, it is a thrill to bring this stunning full-length classic into the Season.”

Program 1 opens 25 October 2019 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, is in tribute to Principal Dancer and Resident Choreographer Ricardo Graziano’s 10th season with The Sarasota Ballet, and features three of Graziano’s ballets. Shostakovich Suite, choreographed in 2011, was Graziano’s first professional commission and is the most traditionally classical of his growing choreographic portfolio. En las Calles de Murcia, choreographed in 2015 and returning to the stage for the first time since its premiere, was inspired by the music of Santiago de Murcia and the Spanish city of Murcia. Closing Program 1 is Graziano’s critically acclaimed In a State of Weightlessness. Having received its world premiere during The Sarasota Ballet’s week-long residency at the renowned Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, audiences and critics were captivated by its power, stating that, “Weightlessness is indeed weighted, with intensity and beauty” (Janine Parker, The Boston Globe, 2015).

Program 2 features three extraordinary and yet vastly different ballets. Opening 22 November 2019 at the Sarasota Opera House, the program features George Balanchine’s regal and beautifully classical Theme and Variations, the long awaited return of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s tense psychological drama Las Hermanas, and closes with the company premiere of Balanchine’s lively and entertaining Western Symphony. Profoundly musical, structurally complex, yet exquisitely refined, Theme and Variations transports audiences to the height of the Russian Imperial Ballet. Based on Federico García Lorca’s, The House of Bernarda Alba, Las Hermanas is a remarkable dramatic ballet about sensuality under harsh repression as well as the emotional and violent consequences that follow. It tells the story of five sisters, all unmarried, who have been cowed into conformity by their tyrannical mother. Western Symphony is a striking example of Balanchine’s love of American themes. Set on an Old West street populated by cowboys and dance hall girls, the ballet uses steps from the traditional ballet vocabulary infused with the formations and gestures of American folk dancing.

Program 3 concludes 2019 with the return of a Sarasota holiday tradition, Matthew Hart’s John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker. Opening December 20 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, these performances will be the only Nutcracker in the Sarasota-Manatee area performed with a full orchestra. Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, the ballet beautifully entwines the history of John and Mable Ringling with E. T. A. Hoffman’s classic The Nutcracker. With designs by Peter Docherty, the ballet creates a loving tribute to the Ringling Brothers and the Greatest Show On Earth in a wonderful holiday family performance. William Oser of Talkin’ Broadway, enthralled by this, “…feast for the eyes and ears”, exclaimed that audiences “…would be foolhardy to miss John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker next time it is revived.”

Commencing The Sarasota Ballet’s 2020 Winter - Spring Season, Program 4 opens January 31 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts with a triple bill that includes Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Rendezvous, the company premiere of Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs, and a yet to be announced third work. Choreographed in 1933, Les Rendezvous is a seminal work in the Ashton canon and played an important role in demonstrating that British ballet could be just as resplendent and magnificent as its Russian counterpart. The ballet is full of the exquisite choreographic nuances that have come to define and distinguish Ashton as one of the greatest choreographers of the twentieth century. Choreographed in 1988 to the renowned Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburgs is an exquisite example of Paul Taylor’s unique and exemplary choreography. With Paul Taylor’s passing in 29 August 2018, the last of the great pioneers of American modern dance has gone. The Sarasota Ballet pays tribute to this legend of dance through both the company premiere of Taylor’s Brandenburgs and the February 2020 presentation of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Each Season The Sarasota Ballet presents a visiting company; previous companies have included the Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Smuin Ballet and Ballet Hispánico. For the 2019 – 2020 Season The Sarasota Ballet is delighted to present the return of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for Program 5, which opens 28 February 2020 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Established in 1954 by the great modern dance choreographer Paul Taylor, the company is one of the world’s most highly respected and sought-after ensembles. Performing the works of Taylor, one of America’s most celebrated artists, they have been hailed as part of the pantheon that created American modern dance.

Opening March 27 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Program 6 sees the company premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton’s full-length Romeo and Juliet, bringing the grandeur and passion of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy to the Sarasota stage. Choreographed in 1955 to Sergei Prokofiev’s score, with great success, for the Royal Danish Ballet, Ashton focused on the “intimate tragedy of two young people caught in an all-consuming passion” (David Vaughan, Frederick Ashton and his Ballets, 1977). Reviewing the ballet in 1988 for the New York Times, esteemed dance critic Jack Anderson wrote that, “Sir Frederick effectively shatters artifice, contrasting the innocuous peasants with brawling street fighters, and his leading characters are vividly conceived.” Infused with Ashton’s musicality and penchant for beautiful and heart-fluttering pas de deux, Romeo and Juliet evidences Ashton’s choreographic genius and ability to portray the nature of humanity through dance.

Closing the Season is Program 7, opening 24 April 2020, and featuring three company premieres by Jerome Robbins, Sir Frederick Ashton, and David Bintley. Premiering in 1970, Robbins’ In the Night comprises of a trio of pas de deux, and contemplates romantic love in stages evidenced by three couples – one euphoric, another restrained, and a third tempestuous. The work demonstrates a refinement of Robbins’ approach to dance, while maintaining a dash of his trademark cynicism. Choreographed during the opening stages of the Second World War, Ashton’s Dante Sonata is a synthesis of wartime symbolism and his reflections upon experiencing Franz Liszt’s piano piece of the same name—itself composed on Liszt’s reactions to Dante Alighieri’s pivotal masterwork. The sentiment of Dante Sonata is, for Ashton, uncommonly bleak and hopeless, with Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times describing it as, “an embattled expressionist encounter between good and evil with no clear outcome.” The final ballet of Program 7 will be a company premiere of a work by David Bintley. One of the great English choreographers of today, Bintley has been heralded by of whom Neil Norman, Chief Dance Critic of The Stage, as the “torchbearer of an extraordinary legacy.” As Bintley ends his tenure as Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in order to pursue increasing international demand for his choreography, The Sarasota Ballet is honored to bring another of his extraordinary works into the repertoire of the Company.

The Sarasota Ballet is once again proud to have live music accompany four of our seven programs this season. The Sarasota Orchestra will perform alongside The Sarasota Ballet for Programs 2, 3, 6 and 7.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

Program 1   |   25 – 27 October 2019
FSU Center for the Performing Arts

Shostakovich Suite
Choreography by Ricardo Graziano
Music by Dmitri Shostakovich

En las Calles de Murcia
Choreography by Ricardo Graziano
Music by Santiago de Murcia

In a State of Weightlessness
Choreography by Ricardo Graziano
Music by Philip Glass

Program 2   |   22 – 23 November 2019
Sarasota Opera House

Theme and Variations
Choreography by George Balanchine
Music by Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

Las Hermanas
Choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Music by Frank Martin

Western Symphony (company premiere)
Choreography by George Balanchine
Music - American folk tunes arranged by Hershy Kay

Program 3 – John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker   |   20 – 21 December 2019
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker
Choreography by Matthew Hart
Music by Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Design by Peter Docherty

Program 4   |   31 January – 3 February 2020
FSU Center for the Performing Arts

Les Rendezvous
Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
Music by Daniel Auber

Brandenburgs (company premiere)
Choreography by Paul Taylor
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach

Yet to be announced third ballet

Program 5 – Paul Taylor Dance Company  |   28 February – 1 March 2020
FSU Center for the Performing Arts

The Sarasota Ballet Presents:

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Program 6 – Romeo and Juliet  |  27 – 28 March 2020
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Romeo and Juliet (company premiere)
Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
Music by Serge Prokofiev

Program 7   |   24 – 25 April 2020
Sarasota Opera House

In the Night (company premiere)
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Music by Frédéric Chopin

Dante Sonata (company premiere)
Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
Music by Franz Liszt

Yet to be announced company premiere
Choreography by David Bintley

Subscription Tickets

Full Season Subscribers can renew their subscription now, new full Season Subscriptions to The Sarasota Ballet’s 2019 - 2020 Season will be available starting 29 April 2019, and Four Ballet Packages are available starting 10 June 2019. For information, please visit or call the box office at 941.359.0099, Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Single Tickets

Individual tickets for The Sarasota Ballet’s 2019 - 2020 Season, starting at $30, go on sale 5 August 2019 at 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.

Box Office: 941.359.0099
Phone: 941.359.0099
5555 North Tamiami Trail  Sarasota , FL  34243