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  • Sonya Tayeh Tells Her Dancers to Keep Their Hair Down. Why Is That So Radical? | Los Angeles Ballet

    Sonya Tayeh Tells Her Dancers to Keep Their Hair Down. Why Is That So Radical? March 14, 2014 Five slender women in flesh-toned leotards emerge from shadows into powerful spotlights. They unpin their ballet buns. Long brown, black and blond hair cascades down. Leaning toward the audience, they sweep their hair over their faces; for most of the next 20 minutes, Los Angeles Ballet's classically trained ballerinas dance with their hair covering their faces during a dress rehearsal for Sonya Tayeh's Beneath One's Dignity, her fourth LAB commission. It's one of two world premieres and two company premieres in LAB's Quartet, onstage at Glendale's Alex Theater this Saturday and UCLA's Royce Hall next week. Tayeh first drew widespread attention for her ferocious combat-jazz choreography on television's So You Think You Can Dance, but she has been extending her artistic horizons since her first LAB commission enhanced her cred as a multifaceted choreographer. She relocated to New York City to choreograph Kung Fu, an off-Broadway musical bio about martial arts movie legend Bruce Lee, but returned to create Beneath One's Dignity for LAB.] Known for her own distinctive, often asymmetrical hair – sometimes shaved, sometimes punctuated with red and blue – Tayeh keeps her long, wavy dark mane pulled to one side, low-key for her, as she watches the dress rehearsal. When her dance ends, Tayeh bounds onto the stage. As she gives the dancers notes, her flannel shirt and combat boots contrast starkly with the women in their flesh-colored leotards and the quintet of men in diaphanous, long black skirts. During the ballet, the women don dresses in the same black see-through material, but at this moment the dresses lie crumpled around the stage, shed and kicked away by the women, with the men repeatedly retrieving and throwing the dresses back at the women, who continue to furiously kick the dresses away. In the final moments, they finally move their hair away from their faces. After notes, in an interview, Tayeh talks about the hair and the dresses as props. “My starting point was in the title; acts or behaviors I've done, sometimes repeatedly, that I felt uncomfortable about or even shame, things beneath my dignity, but that I found myself repeating and the shields I built up to hide behind to protect myself and keep going,” Tayeh explains. “I wanted the women to start out like newborns but then put on the dress, develop the emotions and the realization of something demeaning, something beneath their dignity. The hair is like a protective mask – they want to go without it but retreat behind the hair for protection.” Tayeh says she knew working with their hair in their face was asking a lot of the dancers. “Dancing blind” was LAB principal dancer Alyssa Bross' description.”But we have come to trust Sonya,” Bross adds. “Many ballet choreographers come in, tell us the steps, turn on the music and we dance. Sonya certainly has a direction in mind, but she wants feedback. She asks us to try things and then asks what we need to be comfortable to take it further. Finding that comfort level with her allows us to find the forceful movement and even more powerful emotional levels she wants from our dancing.” The hair made unison dancing particularly difficult. “Working with the music helped, and Sonya developed breathing cues, so we were listening to each other rather than relying on visual cues,” Bross explains. The next night at the premiere, the audience cheers. Tayeh is pleased. “I had a tear in my eye,” she admits. “The dancers captured my struggle and I feel I can make my own positive changes.” Like her dancers, kicking the dress away. L.A. Weekly by Ann Haskins READ ARTICLE AT SOURCE 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • Jacob Soltero – Company Dancer | Los Angeles Ballet

    2023/2024 Season > Dancers > Jacob Soltero Hometown Las Cruces, New Mexico Seasons with LAB 2022/2023, 2023/2024 Jacob started dancing at the age of thirteen with Peninsula Dance Theater in 2016 in Bremerton, WA, where he trained for four years through his high school years. Throughout his school years, he trained on full-tuition scholarships during the summer at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Chautauqua Institution. He has participated in dance festivals, such as Regional Dance America and The Ballet Alliance where Peninsula Dance Theatre was able to perform and work with excellent faculty. For two years, Jacob was a Professional Division student with Pacific Northwest Ballet for the years 2020-2022, where he got to perform with the company in a myriad of productions, such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake . Throughout his training as a Professional Division student, he had the opportunity to travel during the summers to work with renowned faculty, such as Patricia McBride, at Chautauqua Institution. There, he received coaching and performance opportunities in Principal roles in an array of ballets, such as George Balanchine’s Tarantella, Who Cares? , and Raymonda Variations . During his time at Pacific Northwest Ballet, he worked with premier faculty, such as Peter Boal and Jonathan Porretta, where he got to take classes with the company and perform in mixed-repertoire programs, such as Next Step , where the Professional Division students were choreographed on by the company. Jacob joined Los Angeles Ballet in 2022 as a Company Member. In his first year as a professional dancer with Los Angeles Ballet, he performed in Russian and Harlequin in The Nutcracker, as well as danced in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias . Throughout the season, he learned a diverse repertoire, such as the work of Christopher Wheeldon, and has worked with Artistic Director Melissa Barak on new choreography for the company’s repertoire. Jacob started dancing at the age of thirteen with Peninsula Dance Theater in 2016 in Bremerton, WA, where he trained for four years through his high school years. Throughout his school years, he trained on full-tuition scholarships during the summer at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Chautauqua Institution. He has participated in dance festivals, such as Regional Dance America and The Ballet Alliance where Peninsula Dance Theatre was able to perform and work with excellent faculty. For two years, Jacob was a Professional Division student with Pacific Northwest Ballet for the years 2020-2022, where he got to perform with the company in a myriad of productions, such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake . Throughout his training as a Professional Division student, he had the opportunity to travel during the summers to work with renowned faculty, such as Patricia McBride, at Chautauqua Institution. There, he received coaching and performance opportunities in Principal roles in an array of ballets, such as George Balanchine’s Tarantella, Who Cares? , and Raymonda Variations . During his time at Pacific Northwest Ballet, he worked with premier faculty, such as Peter Boal and Jonathan Porretta, where he got to take classes with the company and perform in mixed-repertoire programs, such as Next Step , where the Professional Division students were choreographed on by the company. Jacob joined Los Angeles Ballet in 2022 as a Company Member. In his first year as a professional dancer with Los Angeles Ballet, he performed in Russian and Harlequin in The Nutcracker, as well as danced in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias . Throughout the season, he learned a diverse repertoire, such as the work of Christopher Wheeldon, and has worked with Artistic Director Melissa Barak on new choreography for the company’s repertoire. MEET THE DANCERS LOS ANGELES BALLET Repertoire Learn about the comprehensive and varied seasons of Los Angeles Ballet since its debut in 2006. Repertoire includes stunning classical ballets, exceptional stagings of Balanchine repertory, and relevant works by many of today’s most innovative dance-makers. VIEW REPERTOIRE LOS ANGELES BALLET 2023/2024 Season This season includes exciting works by master choreographers Justin Peck, Hans van Manen, Yuri Possokhov and George Balanchine, and another world premiere by LAB Artistic Director, Melissa Barak. Plus, LA's holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Subscriptions and Single Tickets on Sale Now! DOWNLOAD SEASON BROCHURE

  • Five Dancers Promoted | Los Angeles Ballet

    Five Dancers Promoted March 7, 2013 Los Angeles Ballet annnounces the promotion of five dances featured in the three-month Balanchine Festival beginning March 9, 2013 Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary announced the promotion of Zheng Hua Li to Principal Dancer and the promotion of Bianca Bulle, Alexander Castillo, Julia Cinquemani, and Chelsea Paige Johnston to Soloists. All five dancers will be featured in Balanchine Festival GOLD, opening Sat., March 9, 2013, and Balanchine Festival RED, opening Sat., May 11, 2013. Each program will be performed at Los Angeles Ballet’s five home theaters: Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Royce Hall/UCLA, Valley Performing Arts Center, Alex Theatre, and Carpenter Performing Arts Center. Zheng Hua Li was born and trained in Shen Yang, China. He danced with Guangzhou Ballet before joining Los Angeles Ballet. This is his fourth season with Los Angeles Ballet. During the upcoming Balanchine Festival GOLD, Mr. Li will dance the Poet in La Sonnambula and the lead in Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments. Since joining LAB, Mr. Li has danced featured roles including the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake and danced in LAB’s world premiere programs NewWaveLA and NextWaveLA in choreography by Sonya Tayeh, Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, and Stacy Tookey. Li joins current principal dancers Allyssa Bross, Allynne Noelle, Christopher Revels and Kenta Shimizu. Bianca Bulle was born in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia where she trained at Ransley Ballet and Dance Centre before training at New York’s School of American Ballet. This is her second season with Los Angeles Ballet. During Balanchine Festival GOLD Ms. Bulle will dance the second lead (2nd Violin) in Concerto Barocco, and Second Theme in The Four Temperaments. Ms. Bulle has danced featured roles in The Nutcracker including Rose in Waltz of the Flowers and Marie (Sugar Plum Fairy), as well as in LAB’s world premiere program NextWaveLA in choreography by Kitty McNamee and Josie Walsh. Alexander Castillo was born in Bayside, New York and trained at Ballet Academy East, Boston Ballet, and School of American Ballet. This is Mr. Castillo’s third season with Los Angeles Ballet. During Balanchine Festival GOLD Mr. Castillo will dance the male lead in Concerto Barocco and Third Theme in The Four Temperaments. He has been featured in the Arabian dance in The Nutcracker, and the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, as well in LAB’s world premiere program NextWaveLA in choreography by Sonya Tayeh and Stacey Tookey. Julia Cinquemani was born in Dallas, Texas and trained at the Dallas Ballet Center, Pacific Northwest Ballet and School of American Ballet. This is her third season with Los Angeles Ballet. During Balanchine Festival GOLD, Ms. Cinquemani will dance Third Theme in The Four Temperaments and the lead (1st Violin) in Concerto Barocco. Ms. Cinquemani has been featured in the Pas de Trois and the Russian dance in Swan Lake, as the Arabian and Marie (Sugar Plum) in The Nutcracker, as well as in LAB’s world premieres program NextWaveLA in choreography by Sonya Tayeh and Josie Walsh. Chelsea Paige Johnston was born in Carlsbad, California and trained with San Elijo Dance and Music Academy, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and UC Irvine. She danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Milwaukee Ballet II before joining Los Angeles Ballet. This is her fourth season with Los Angeles Ballet. During Balanchine Festival GOLD, Ms. Johnston will dance The Sleepwalker in La Sonnambula. Since joining Los Angeles Ballet she has danced the title role in Giselle, the Russian dance in Swan Lake, Marie (Sugar Plum) in The Nutcracker, and was featured in LAB’s world premiere programs NewWaveLA and NextWaveLA in choreography by Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, Kitty McNamee, and Josie Walsh. ​ LAB Public Relations DOWNLOAD PDF 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • Los Angeles Ballet At the Top of its Form | Los Angeles Ballet

    Los Angeles Ballet At the Top of its Form October 20, 2016 Los Angeles Ballet ended its benchmark 10th season in June as the first American company to dance Frederick Ashton’s distinctively intimate and poetic “Romeo and Juliet.” Unfortunately, that season left the company fiscally overextended, so the 11th season, which opened Saturday, has cutbacks in the roster and the repertory. That’s disappointing, of course, but the situation forced artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary to capitalize on their bedrock artistic strengths in an invigorating program at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. From Christensen’s Danish birthright came August Bournonville’s antique Pas de Six and Tarantella from “Napoli.” From Neary’s career at New York City Ballet came an authoritative staging of George Balanchine’s wondrous “Stravinsky Violin Concerto.” The directors’ longstanding commitment to new work brought Canadian modernist Aszure Barton’s quirky, challenging “Untouched” to the program too. The celebratory Bournonville divertissement began with a classical abstraction of folklore and then unleashed a nonstop barrage of bouncy, heel-and-toe folk steps. Technical strain from the women and hard landings from the men marred the opening section. But those shortcomings soon yielded to spot-on contributions from the excellent Julia Cinquemani and Kenta Shimizu, as well as Javier Moya Romero and Madeline Houk (replacing the injured Allyssa Bross), plus a stellar newcomer, Tigran Sargsyan, able to project Bournonville style effortlessly at opera house scale. The “Napoli” excerpt also confirmed the growing importance of Dustin True, a versatile soloist previously seen in subsidiary roles but given major assignments in all three works Saturday. In the Bournonville and Barton pieces, you could admire his skill and spirit without feeling he’d outclassed his colleagues. But in the “Stravinsky Violin Concerto,” opposite Elizabeth Claire Walker (replacing Bross), the almost contemptuous force and sensuality of his dancing made it impossible to watch anyone else — even Shimizu and Cinquemani, efficient if subdued in their duet. In a tribute to his friendship with the composer, Balanchine initially reshuffled soloists and small ensembles, then explored two moody, intricate duets before launching a folk-accented finale requiring extraordinary precision from the whole cast. It is one of the prime neoclassic creations of the 20th century and, discounting a few lapses in stamina, the Los Angeles Ballet performance delivered its greatness impressively. Crammed with musical and movement eccentricity, Barton’s 2010 “Untouched” looked at the tensions between group identity and individual expression. For much of the work’s length, the title proved prophetic: Everyone danced in juxtaposition but with no contact. And even when fleeting interactions occurred, the participants remained untouched in a fundamental sense: locked in their own pain and processes. With everyone wearing Fritz Masten’s floral prints, the piece evoked an upscale party at which everyone expected relationships to form but nobody really connected. Along the way, newcomer Leah McCall dominated the stage in a dramatic solo, and Bianca Bulle endured partnering assaults stoically, but everyone in the 12-member cast took to Barton’s twisty, wiggly, off-kilter style as if ballet dancing always incorporated such oddities. Nicole Pearce designed the claustrophobic set (borrowed from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago). Obviously, few would rejoice at Los Angeles Ballet’s cutbacks. But the company’s value stayed resplendent Saturday with no need for more of anything — expect possibly live music. Indeed, this is why we need these dancers in Los Angeles, not for hand-me-down stagings of Russian warhorses but for sustaining the living legacy of modernism (even 19th-century modernism) that has distinguished it for the last decade. The L.A. Ballet program will visit other Southland venues in weeks to come; no doubt, other audiences will see what the Alex audience witnessed: an invaluable community resource suffering growing pains, perhaps, but still near the top of its game. ------------ Los Angeles Ballet In Redondo Beach: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd. In Westwood: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at Royce Hall, UCLA Tickets: $29.50-$104 Info: (310) 998-7782, www.losangelesballet.org Follow The Times’ arts team @culturemonster. ALSO An ode to an avant-garde Japanese dance legend USC celebrates the opening of a $46-million building for dance 40 years of Martin Scorsese movies, mashed up as a concert-musical Los Angeles Times by Lewis Segal READ ARTICLE AT SOURCE 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • ‘The Nutcracker’ is a Triumph for Los Angeles Ballet | Los Angeles Ballet

    ‘The Nutcracker’ is a Triumph for Los Angeles Ballet December 12, 2011 Los Angeles Ballet stepped into its sixth season with a delightful holiday performance of The Nutcracker at The Alex Theatre in Glendale last weekend. LAB alternately charmed and thrilled its audience with dancing that conveyed emotional depth, and bravura displays that combined strength and grace. Act I, Scene One (hallway) features wonderfully expressive acting by Clara (Mia Katz) and her annoying brother Fritz (Aidan Merchel-Zoric). The charm continues into Scene Two (The Party) with engaging choreography and a stunning performance by the Cossack Doll (Chehon Wespi-Tschopp): ten consecutive turns (tour a la seconde) followed by a quadruple pirouette. And Scene Three is both playful and serious in its dispatch of the Mouse King. Act II, Scene One is a feast of superb performances that range from exquisite to vigorous. And the final scene when Clara awakens marks Mia Katz as a gifted actress as well as dancer. Like The Wizard of Oz would do in the 20th century, Tchaikovsky’s 19th century masterpiece celebrates the amazing worlds a young woman unleashes in her dreams. In The Wizard of Oz, the heroine Dorothy creates a world that enables her to work through relationship issues with the adults around her. In The Nutcracker, our heroine Clara is a bit more ambitious. She dreams of a romantic ideal. The scene opens just before the guests arrive at the Christmas Eve party at the Stalbaum Family’s festive home.Clara is being tormented by her brother Fritz, who attempts to wrestle her baby doll away from her. Later on, when the party is underway, we see Fritz and other boys waving toy guns and running through the crowd as Clara and the girls hug their dolls all the more tightly. And so we see, through a child’s eyes, society’s central problem: how to harness the male energy so that it protects fragile life rather than destroys it. Clara’s dear Uncle Drosselmeyer presents Clara with a life-sized Nutcracker, an example of male energy properly harnessed: the Nutcracker is able to crack the shell without destroying the nut. And was it just a coincidence that Fritz got knocked over in his presence when he persisted in teasing Clara? That night, Clara’s dream is that of an innocent young girl, not yet sailing into the storms of adolescence. So, her vision of men behaving badly is not a gang of wolves or even rats, but overgrown mice. Uncle Drossmeyer, personifying the civilizing tradition, summons The Nutcracker, symbolizing the young hero who must defend civilization anew. The Nutcracker dispatches the Mouse King; man’s better nature has triumphed over his baser one. As a result, Uncle Drossmeyer can now usher both Clara and her Nutcracker into a world where the delicate things—like snowflakes—can safely dance. A world where strength serves beauty and grace. The Nutcracker is a young girl’s wonderful dream of civilization as it might be. And for a few hours, Los Angeles Ballet made that dream a glorious reality. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to become more culturally involved, put LAB on your list. Then you’ll have at least one resolution you’re likely to keep long after the pounds have returned. The Nutcracker plays at Royce Hall, UCLA on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 pm. Then it plays at the Redondo Beach performing Arts Center on Thursday the 22nd at 7:30 p.m., Friday the 23rd at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday the 24th at 1:00 p.m. Call the Box Office at 310-998-7782 or visit www.losangelesballet.org . BurbankNBeyond by Greg Simay DOWNLOAD PDF 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • LAB Announces 2013/2014 Season | Los Angeles Ballet

    LAB Announces 2013/2014 Season August 1, 2013 Los Angeles Ballet Co-Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary are excited to unveil the ballets selected for LAB's eighth season. The season opens with Los Angeles Ballet's original production of The Nutcracker. In March 2014, Quartet presents Return to a Strange Land, by Jiří Kylián; World Premieres by Christopher Stowell and Sonya Tayeh; and Stars and Stripes, by George Balanchine. The season concludes in May/June 2014 with the two-act story ballet La Sylphide, paired with Balanchine's romantic Serenad Company News from the Staff at LAB 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • Los Angeles Ballet: A spring in its step | Los Angeles Ballet

    Los Angeles Ballet: A spring in its step February 24, 2008 To state the obvious, Los Angeles Ballet's identity will be forged through its repertory and how its dancers perform. But the fledgling company's true branding will take form from the dances it commissions: the ballets it has that no one else does. Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen know that. So for this, the second season, they ordered up two new pieces for their 26 dancers. The first one, "Lost in Transition" by soloist Melissa Barak, debuted at the spring season opener this weekend at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. It is a smart, taut and whimsical winner. Ballet is not baseball, but let's just say that signing "free agent" Barak and bringing her back from Manhattan to her Los Angeles hometown was one of Neary's and Christensen's smartest decisions. Frustrated in the corps de ballet at New York City Ballet, and already an accomplished choreographic craftsman, Barak is blossoming further as a dancer with LAB. With "Lost in Transition," this 20-something advanced, too, as a dancemaker. Her four-movement premiere demonstrated clear purpose and great skill in execution, especially with the corps de ballet. The complicated layers and patterns she knitted for the all-female ensemble continuously surprised this viewer, and then delighted with each succeeding revelation. She gave us a trail of treats to follow using repeated motifs, which guided us gently, not obviously, through the piece. Barak's choreographic "voice" is rooted in the modernism of George Balanchine (like other NYCB alumni), but she is quickly finding her own movement colors and pitch. "Lost" is sleek abstraction, but with warm undertones, just like the (recorded) score, selections from two separate concerti by composer and virtuoso bassist Edgar Meyer. Barak began with an upstage line of women holding hands, their arms raised in a V. Like dominoes, they collapsed through a cascading canon. They pulled into a tight circle, and then burst open like flower petals exploding in fast motion. In the third movement, the corps was clumped in four tiered rows and occasionally burst into mechanistic, syncopated arm signals, a kinetic illustration of the chaotic musical outbursts unexpectedly sprinkled through Meyer's "Double Concerto for Cello and Double Bass." For her lead couples, Aubrey Morgan and Damien Johnson – two sensational newcomers – and Erin Rivera-Brennard and Peter Snow, Barak provided brisk, if less interesting, partnering challenges. But Barak was never timid – when Rivera-Brennard exited at one point, the abandoned Snow wandered sadly about until she returned. A trio for Sergey Kheylik, Lauren Toole and Kelly Ann Sloan was a sassy diversion, filled with loose torsos and rolling hips, big leaps for Kheylik and attacking footwork for Toole and Sloan. Patricia Guillem's neon-colored unitards and Tony Kudner's suggestively mysterious lighting were the appropriate finishing touches to this exciting piece. The program's other three ballets highlighted the many moods of Balanchine. Neary and Christensen spread about the solo parts, coaching every with exactitude. Overall, the dancers were more relaxed and greatly improved from a year ago. The cast approached the radical precision of "The Four Temperaments" (1946), to Paul Hindemith's equally revolutionary score, with still too much severity. But there were also sparks of adventurousness. In the "Melancholic" movement, Kheylik pulled his body to extremes, folding nearly in half forward and backward. His cat-like leaps soared ever upward and yet he still hit the floor, his body flat, on the beat. In "Sanguinic," Corina Gill amped up every inside and outside spin, losing a few, but still making the risks worthwhile. Her dependable partner, Peter Snow, also left caution at the wings and flew through his jumps. The dancers in the "Phlegmatic" section were one-note serious, but Andrew Brader's fluid arms and legs seemed to lengthen and ripple with each wave. The bravura "Tarantella" (1964, music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk) followed "Lost in Transition" on the program – a dessert when one was not needed. But Gill and guest artist Rainer Krenstetter made it the dance equivalent of sweet sherbet, a light entertainment intended only to please. Gill impressed with her pointe work and balance, while Krenstetter's sunny disposition and beautifully articulated beats made him an irresistible presence. The final act was devoted to "Who Cares?" (1970) and the dancers took to the Gershwin songs and the choreography's frothy sassiness with carefree and energetic eagerness. We were glad to see this other side of Los Angeles Ballet.. Barak was a sensuous and sophisticated soloist in "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise." Despite a few bobbles, Nancy Richer brought lyrical playfulness to "My One and Only." Morgan and guest artist Eddy Tovar filled "The Man I Love Duo" with aching love. The male ensemble sprang with palpable joy. Los Angeles Ballet presented itself in the 600-seat Freud Playhouse, taking the box-office risks on its own shoulders. This same weekend at Royce Hall, UCLA Live was presenting the similarly attractive but inferior State Ballet of Georgia, and audience members commented to me how happy they were to see classical dance on the lineup. This is a ridiculous state of affairs. Los Angeles Ballet is coming up fast. Wake up, you folks at UCLA Live (and all you other presenters around town). Take this young talented group under your wing, because everyone will benefit. Orange County Register by Laura Bleiberg DOWNLOAD PDF 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • 'The Nutcracker' Opens LA Ballet Sixth Season | Los Angeles Ballet

    'The Nutcracker' Opens LA Ballet Sixth Season December 15, 2011 LA County’s resident classical ballet company, Los Angeles Ballet opens a sixth season with Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary’s original staging of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” This sweet holiday treat is currently making its annual three-week tour from Glendale’s landmark Alex Theatre to UCLA’s Royce Hall to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. The ballet opens on sumptuous storybook sets designed by LA artist Catherine Kanner. As a festive Christmas party gets underway at the Steinbaum house, young Clara – danced by Mia Katz – and her friends play with their favorite dolls. New to the role last year, Katz shows a deepening dramatic and technical rtistry. Clara’s bratty brother, Franz, is played with devilish glee by Aidan Merchel-Zoric. Sweeping into the party, the children’s Uncle Drosselmeyer brings mechanical dancing dolls to entertain the guests. Revealing himself as a fine dramatic dancer in last season’s Sonya Tayeh world premiere, the charismatic Nicolas de la Vega commands the stage in his first performances as the wizardly uncle. Sparkling Isabel Vondermuhll repeats last year’s spicy performance as the commedia dell’arte Columbine Doll, partnered by Angel Lopez in a bravura company debut as Harlequin. Following his electrifying performance as Hilarion in last year’s acclaimed “Giselle,” Chehon Wespi-Tschopp brings the audience to a screaming frenzy with the virtuoso leaps and turns of Drosselmeyer’s Cossack Doll. Eighteen-year-old Pacific Northwest Ballet guest artist Nathaniel Solis guides his compact frame through perfect double tours en l’air and grands jetés with flashing eyes and a brilliant smile. This handsome young man is clearly one to watch. The midnight battle between the brave toy soldiers and menacing mice is delightful, led by Zheng Hua Li as the high-leaping, hilarious Mouse King. As ever, the women’s corps de ballet presents a breathtaking Dance of the Snowflakes to end Act I. Act II begins in the Palace of the Dolls, all brought to life by magical Uncle Drosselmeyer. Allyssa Bross and Christopher Revels made auspicious LAB debuts as presiding dolls Marie and her Cavalier in last season’s “Nutcracker.” In the short year since – which included their partnering in both “Giselle” and Balanchine’s “Raymonda Variations” – Bross has developed a confident insouciance to go along with her perfect technique and superb balance, flirting shamelessly with her adoring audience during the fiendish variations of a long and arduous Pas de Deux. One year ago, Revels made an indelible impression with his ebullient, sky-high leaps and enormous strength and stamina. Now only 20 years old, he exhibits an authority and refinement rare in so young a premier danseur. The fortuitous partnership between these two young artists, carefully and wisely mentored by Christensen and Neary, brings out the best in both of them. Newly named company principals, they exude considerable star quality, which has created a national flurry of anticipation for their pairing in LAB’s upcoming “Swan Lake.” In alternate performances, the Cavalier is danced by returning guest artist Kenta Shimizu, who has parlayed his spectacular jumps, turns, and enormous lifts into a blossoming international career. Second-act highlights included a sizzling, Flamenco-flavored Spanish Dance, featuring passion and precision from soloists Kate Allynn Noelle as The Rose Photo: Reed Hutchinson Highstrete, Kelly Ann Sloan, Alexander Forck and Zheng Hua Li. Lithe and lovely Julia Cinquemani and majestic Alexander Castillo repeated their mesmerizing Arabian pas de deux from last year. Wespi-Tschopp vaulted through a show-stopping Russian Dance, joined by buoyant and acrobatic Christopher McDaniel and Tian Tan. Always enchanting, the Waltz of the Flowers is especially striking with Allynne Noelle as The Rose. Her strong debut as Queen of the Wilis in last season’s “Giselle” marked her as a brilliant addition to LAB’s impressive roster of soloists. This season Noelle and Bross share performances as Marie and The Rose. The children’s corps de ballet offers disciplined and precise step-work, and a rollicking sense of fun throughout the evening – no doubt inspiring the throng of young audience members, who can be seen whirling and leaping through the lobby after the show. For five years, LAB has presented every one of its productions in at least three locations. A recipient of large grants from LA County Arts Commission and the Schubert Foundation, the company has announced two additional performance venues – in Long Beach and Northridge – for its production of “Swan Lake” in March. “The Nutcracker” plays at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1 and 5 p.m.; and Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m. For tickets and information, please visit www.losangelesballet.org . —Penny Orloff, Culture Spot LA CultureSpotLA by Penny Orloff DOWNLOAD PDF 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • LAB Dancers Featured on Refinery29.com | Los Angeles Ballet

    LAB Dancers Featured on Refinery29.com February 1, 2013 Ten Los Angeles Ballet dancers were profiled recently on Refinery29.com. The feature includes 20 photographs taken of the dancers at LAB's studio and a variety of insights about their experiences, pre-performance habits, and activities outside of ballet. Company News from the Staff at LAB 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • Colleen Neary Travels to Italy and Japan | Los Angeles Ballet

    Colleen Neary Travels to Italy and Japan June 1, 2009 In her capacity as a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, Ms. Neary was in Milan, Italy, in April and May, staging Apollo for La Scala Ballet. In June she is in Tokyo, setting Symphony in C on K-Ballet Company News from the Staff at LAB 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

  • Marcos Ramirez – Company Dancer | Los Angeles Ballet

    2023/2024 Season > Dancers > Marcos Ramirez Hometown Trinidad, Cuba Seasons with LAB 2021/2022 2022/2023, 2023/2024 Marcos joined the National Ballet of Cuba at the age of 17. He joined LAB in 2020 and has performed the roles of Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, The Cavalier Prince in The Nutcracker , Gustave in Lady of the Camellias , and other leading roles in contemporary pieces such as Ghosts by Christopher Wheeldon and Bloom by Anabel Lopez Ochoa. He has also performed in international Galas in Italy, Cuba, and the United States. Marcos was awarded 1st and 2nd place in international competitions in Cuba and 1st place in YAGP Philadelphia. MEET THE DANCERS LOS ANGELES BALLET Repertoire Learn about the comprehensive and varied seasons of Los Angeles Ballet since its debut in 2006. Repertoire includes stunning classical ballets, exceptional stagings of Balanchine repertory, and relevant works by many of today’s most innovative dance-makers. VIEW REPERTOIRE LOS ANGELES BALLET 2023/2024 Season This season includes exciting works by master choreographers Justin Peck, Hans van Manen, Yuri Possokhov and George Balanchine, and another world premiere by LAB Artistic Director, Melissa Barak. Plus, LA's holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Subscriptions and Single Tickets on Sale Now! DOWNLOAD SEASON BROCHURE

  • Colleen Neary Travels to Germany | Los Angeles Ballet

    Colleen Neary Travels to Germany April 1, 2006 Los Angeles Ballet's Artistic Director Colleen Neary travels to Berlin to give a lecture on the Balanchine Legacy for the German Dance Congress, 2006. She will give a history of George Balanchine, and discuss his revolutionary influence on dance. Included will be a demonstration by the dancers of the Staatsballett Berlin, performing excerpts of the Balanchine repertoire that Colleen has staged for that company. Company News from the Staff at LAB 2023/2024 Season > News > Previous Item Next Item

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