On Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 pm; Friday, April 20 at 8 pm; Saturday, April 21 at 8 pm; and Sunday, April 22 at 3 pm in the Victoria Theatre, Dayton Ballet is thrilled to celebrate its 80th season with a special presentation called Ruby Jubilee: Dayton Ballet’s 80th Year Celebration. This presentation will be the fifth and final ballet in the 2017–2018 The Great Ones Season.
Principal Sponsor for this production is ELM Foundation. Associate Sponsor is The Bill and Jackie Lockwood Family Foundation. The DPAA Innovation Partner for the 2017-2018 The Great Ones Season is the DP&L Foundation—Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
In 1927, Josephine (Jo) Schwarz and her sister Hermene opened The Schwarz School of Dance in Dayton, Ohio. In May 1937, Jo and Hermene gathered together the school’s finest, named the troupe “The Experimental Group for Young Dancers,” and staged a performance at the Dayton Art Institute. This 1937 debut was the very first performance of what is now Dayton Ballet! Josephine Schwarz was a pioneer of the American regional ballet movement of the mid-20th century. Through years of persistence, she made Dayton a center of dance.
To celebrate this ravishing Ruby Anniversary, Dayton Ballet has planned a very special presentation of dance, with four performances over the weekend of April 19-22. The program opens with an energetic, neoclassical ballet called Farandole, set to the rich L’Arlésienne Suite by Georges Bizet. The work is a collection of three pieces, one of which was performed in the DPAA 2016-2017 Season Opening Spectacular, Vive la France. The other two pieces will receive their world premiere with this performance.
The performance continues with Onegin Waltz, danced to music from Tchaikovsky’s lyrical and emotional opera Eugene Onegin. Four couples take the stage in soft white and light pink classic tutus and tunics to dance duet vignettes that require the highest level of technique in a challenging yet exquisite classical ballet.
Then, Dayton Ballet is proud to present for the first time a work by internationally acclaimed choreographer Jiří Kylián. Sechs Tänze is a collection of six seemingly nonsensical dances, which together serve as a vehicle to illustrate both the humor and brilliance of the composer of the music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This unique work pushes the envelope with the dancers, stretching their athleticism and artistry in a creative and amusing ballet. Dayton Ballet is thrilled to welcome repetiteur Stefan Żeromski from Nederlands Dans Theater to the studio. Żeromski will set this ballet with the Dayton Ballet company and oversee the presentation of this outstanding work on the Victoria Theatre stage.
Dayton Ballet is truly honored to be presenting this work by Jiří Kylián. This world renowned choreographer has created nearly 100 works, many of which are performed all over the world. Mr. Kylián has made works not only for Nederlands Dans Theater, where he served as Artistic Director for many years, but also for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet. Mr. Kylián started his dance career at the age of nine at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. In 1962 he was accepted as a student at the Prague Conservatory, and in 1967 he received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London. He became artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater in 1975, and after an extraordinary record of service, Mr. Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated with the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009. In the course of his career, Mr. Kylián received many international awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague; the prestigious gold penning as honorary citizen of The Hague, the Netherlands; and just this past September 2017, the prestigious Life Time Achievement Prize, the Positano Premia La Danza Léonide Massine Award.
After intermission, Dayton Ballet opens with Prelude and Allegro, created by Karen Russo Burke, with Balanchine’s famous Jewels ballet as her inspiration. Prelude and Allegro will showcase the women of Dayton Ballet as eight female dancers in simple pink dresses fill the stage with grace and elegance. The work is set to three pieces of beautiful music from composers Kreisler and Leclair, and the live music for this ballet will be performed by the Dayton Philharmonic Principal String Quartet—Concertmaster Jessica Hung on violin, Kirstin Greenlaw on violin, Sheridan Currie on viola, and Andra Padrichelli on cello—along with DPO pianist Joshua Nemith.
The evening continues with Meditation de Thaïs, set to music from the opera Thaïs by French composer Jules Massenet. DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung takes the stage with three couples to perform the music solo on violin. The music and the dance are haunting and romantic, and Dayton Ballet is pleased to bring this work from the 2016-2017 Season Opening Spectacular back to the stage once again by popular demand.
To close the program, Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke pays tribute to the two women who started Dayton Ballet with a new work created as a celebration of the 80th anniversary of Dayton Ballet. This World Premiere is in keeping with Dayton Ballet’s international reputation as “The Company of Premieres,” being one of the only dance companies nationwide to establish a fund designated specifically to create new full-length 21st-century ballets. With this work, Ms. Burke honors Miss Josephine Schwarz and her sister Miss Hermene, with careful consideration of what it took for these two women to set out to create the second-oldest ballet company in the country in the 1920s and 1930s. The full company of Dayton Ballet dancers takes the stage, with the five musicians of Dayton Philharmonic performing two captivating pieces entitled “Andare” and “Divenire” from Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. This beautiful ballet is a fitting homage to the very nature of the women who started such an incredible legacy in Dayton.
Before each performance, Ms. Burke will hold a pre-performance talk called “The First Step,” giving audience members a more in-depth look at the upcoming performance and a behind-the-scenes peek at Dayton Ballet. “The First Step” will be held 45 minutes prior to curtain time for each performance in the Burnell Roberts Room at 126 North Main Street, beside the Victoria Theatre. “Behind the Ballet,” a Q&A with dancers that gives audiences the opportunity to learn more about the life of a dancer with Dayton Ballet, will follow each performance in the theatre. “The First Step” and “Behind the Ballet” sessions are free of charge for all ticketholders.
Tickets for Ruby Jubilee: Dayton Ballet’s 80th Year Celebration are $21 to $72 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts available at box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.