Richmond Ballet- Richmond
Richmond Ballet performs “Ershter Vals,” (from left) Valerie Tellmann, Kirk Henning, Shira Lanyi and David Neal.
Richmond Ballet’s Managing Director Brett Bonda says the studio theater series, the intimate series performed in its 250-seat theater on the top floor of the ballet’s headquarters in downtown Richmond, has been just one of their successes. Also a hit for the ballet is their biannual New Works Festival which, Bonda says, will be back this year.
The festival features world premieres from four up-and-coming choreographers who have not worked with the ballet in the past. “It’s a nice way of introducing audiences to new choreography and introducing new choreographers to the organization,” Bonda says.
Highlights of this season include the company premiere of Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant” with the score performed live on stage with the dancers. “This is a new acquisition for the ballet,” Bonda says.
Richmond Ballet is the official state ballet and the only professional company in Virginia. The ballet has 14 dancers, plus another 10 in Richmond Ballet II, a company of young dancers that tour rural areas of the state. In the upcoming season, the ballet will also showcase a new world premiere for the studio series set by Philip Neal—who started his career as a dancer with the ballet and is now a choreographer who works in the development department of the Miami City Ballet—and “Ershter Vals,” which was created for the company by award-winning choreographer Ma Cong. The work was selected by the Kennedy Center for performance in its Ballet Across America series, which showcases the spectacular vitality of American ballet. The ballet was first performed during the 2009 New Works Festival and was finished in the fall of 2010.
Perennial favorite “The Nutcracker” returns for the holidays and in February the company will present “Swan Lake.” “We are very excited,” Bonda says. “We haven’t done that ballet since the 2001-02 season. We thought it was the right time.” RichmondBallet.com
American Shakespeare Center (Staunton)
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Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Norfolk)