First Seattle Tour

May 1, 2014

La Sylphide plus George Balanchine’s Serenade

June 27, 2014 McCaw Hall, Seattle Center

Performances to include:

  • The full-length romantic story ballet La Sylphide, choreographed by Thordal Christensen after August Bournonville

  • George Balanchine’s SerenadeLos Angeles Ballet Co-Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary are excited to announce that the company will be touring out of California for the first time, presenting La Sylphide and Serenade to Seattle, Washington audiences June 27, 2014, at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. This will immediately follow LAB’s tour of the same production throughout Los Angeles County.Christensen and Neary are thrilled to be bringing their first touring production to Seattle, as it is where their partnership was created – both onstage and off. Christensen and Neary were Principal Dancers for Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) from 1986 through 1992, dancing in ballets by Kent Stowell, Clark Tippett, Glen Tetley, George Balanchine, Lynn Taylor Corbett,

José Limón, and Lar Lubovitch, as well as classics like Swan Lake. Christensen and Neary married in 1987, with PNB Founding Artistic Directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell as their witnesses. Stowell and Russell provided Christensen and Neary with critical inspiration to eventually launch Los Angeles Ballet. “We danced at PNB in an enormous growth period for that company, during a creative time when it began to tour to Hawaii, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and other major cities,” says Neary. It was this creative spark and strong partnership between Christensen and Neary that led to the formation of Los Angeles Ballet, and their connection to PNB that makes Seattle the ideal choice for LAB’s first out-of-state tour.


LAB’s La Sylphide was debuted in 2009 with choreography by Christensen after the original 19th century ballet by Danish choreographer August Bournonville. “Los Angeles Ballet’s performances in 2009 were exemplary, among the finest achievements in the company’s history,” said Lewis Segal in his recent LA Times article, ‘Faces to Watch 2014.’


At McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, the two-act story ballet La Sylphide will be paired with George Balanchine’s romantic Serenade. La Sylphide, sometimes described as the Danish Giselle, recounts the tale of a Scotsman enamored of an entrancing woodland sprite (a sylph) and the poisonous interference of a witch, with tragic results. Serenade is unquestionably one of Balanchine’s most popular and beloved ballets. Set to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, the ballet evokes a moonlit world of romantic attraction and betrayal.


Colleen Neary says, “La Sylphide and Serenade are two of the most romantic and, some say, most tragic ballets choreographed – the former with a story and the other without a literal one. There is a deep spiritualism to both.”


About Los Angeles Ballet


Founded in 2004 by Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, and Executive Director Julie Whittaker, Los Angeles Ballet is known for its superb stagings of the Balanchine repertory, stylistically meticulous classical ballets, and its commitment to new works. LAB has become recognized as a world-class ballet company, in eight seasons presenting 24 productions encompassing 50 works, including 15 commissioned world premieres. Los Angeles Ballet ‘tours’ throughout LA County, regularly appearing at four venues. This past summer the Los Angeles Music Center presented Los Angeles Ballet at Grand Park, with more than 3,000 attending the outdoor performance. Since its inception in 2006, LAB’s Power of Performance (POP!) program has provided thousands of free tickets to underserved or disadvantaged children, seniors, veterans, and their families. LAB's A Chance to Dance Community Days outreach program was launched in October 2012.


About Thordal Christensen


Among Thordal Christensen’s many credentials are an impressive performing career, successful leadership of one of the world's major ballet companies, critically applauded original choreography, and a proven commitment to dance education. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Christensen received his ballet training at The Royal Danish Ballet School and at the School of American Ballet in New York City before a performance career that included the Royal Danish Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Christensen then returned to Denmark where he was Artistic Director of the 


Royal Danish Ballet


This blend of Bournonville and Balanchine tradition is one of the defining themes of his career, and has shaped the unique artistic vision that Christensen, along with his wife Colleen Neary, bring to Los Angeles Ballet. In 2002, he was made Knight of the Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.


About Colleen Neary


Colleen Neary brings to Los Angeles Ballet the benefits of her vast experience as one of George Balanchine's quintessential ballerinas. In her experience as a dancer, teacher, and ballet mistress, she also worked closely with other luminaries of 20th century dance, including Rudolf Nureyev, Maurice Béjart, and Jiří Kylián. Born in Miami, Florida and trained at The School of American Ballet, Neary danced in New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine, then for Maurice Béjart's Ballet du XXième Siecle, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Neary was personally selected by Balanchine to teach his choreography to major companies all over the world as a repetiteur for The George Balanchine Trust.

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