Diablo Ballet Announces 20th Anniversary Season with Premieres, a Celebration, and newly appointed Resident Choreographer

July 11, 2013

Press Releases

Diablo Ballet Announces 20th Anniversary Season with Premieres, a Celebration, and newly appointed Resident Choreographer

From left to right: David Fonnegra, Jennifer Dille, Mayo Sugano, Robert Dekkers, Rosselyn Ramirez, Edward Stegge

From left to right: David Fonnegra, Jennifer Dille, Mayo Sugano, Robert Dekkers, Rosselyn Ramirez, Edward Stegge
Photo Credit: Aris Bernales

2013-2014 Program Line-up to Include Diablo Ballet Premieres by Vicente Nebrada, Mário Radačovský, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Stowell and the  Sweetheart Pas de Deux from Billy the Kid.

 Season also celebrates the appointment of Resident Choreographer, Robert Dekkers

(Walnut Creek, CA) — Diablo Ballet has announced its landmark 20th season to feature works by Vicente Nebrada, Mário Radačovský, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Stowell and George Balanchine. In addition, the Company announced the Diablo Ballet Premiere of the Sweetheart Pas de Deux from Eugene Loring’s masterpiece ballet, Billy the Kid and the 2013 Edition of A Swingin’ Holiday. The season will also celebrate the appointment of Robert Dekkers, dancer and choreographer with Diablo Ballet, as resident choreographer. “Diablo Ballet’s 20th Season will not only honor the past but it will also celebrate the future. I am humbled and honored to be celebrating this milestone anniversary”, says Lauren Jonas, Diablo Ballet’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder.

Diablo Ballet’s 20th Season begins November 9th at the Smith Center at Ohlone College in Fremont with the Diablo Ballet premiere of Our Waltzes by renowned choreographer Vicente Nebrada of Ballet Nacional de Caracas.  The ballet premiered in May 1976 for the Nacional Ballet de Caracas in Bogotá, Colombia. Diablo Ballet’s David Fonnegra, who danced the Ballet numerous times under Mr. Nebrada, is one of a handful of individuals given the honor to stage this work. This passionate ballet that celebrates romance and love, can be compared to ballroom dancing with Latin influences and is set to Teresa Carreño‘s beautiful piano score. Diablo Ballet’s performances will feature beloved Bay Area concert pianist, Roy Bogas.

Also on the program is the West Coast Premiere of Compulsive, choreographed by Mário Radačovský, former principal dancer with Jiri Kylian’s Netherlands Dance Theatre and Artistic Director of the Slovak National Theatre. This fun and emotive solo won the senior bronze medal at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Set to the music of Yann Tiersen, this powerful dance depicts Mr. Radačovský’s European dramatic and athletic sensibility.

The November program continues November 15-16 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek with the 2013 Edition of A Swingin’ Holiday, created in 2012 by Sean Kelly, former resident choreographer for the national tour of the musical Billy Elliot and former principal of Houston Ballet. In 2012, the SF Chronicle raved, “The Company has a hit on its hands!” Diablo Ballet’s new 2013 edition features favorite holiday tunes and songs from the 30s and 40s by such legends as Duke Ellington, Nat “King” Cole, Wynton Marsalis, and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite performed live by the Diablo Ballet Swing Orchestra, under the direction of Greg Sudmeier.

Diablo Ballet’s season continues in 2014 when the acclaimed Inside the Dancer’s Studio series returns January 31-February 1 and May 9-10 at the Shadelands Arts Center Auditorium in Walnut Creek and April 11-12 at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. The Inside the Dancer’s Studio Series, places the audience within yards of the stage, and features live music, and a lively, interactive Q&A with the dancers hosted by local celebrity moderators. A reception with tasty gourmet delicacies, Peet’s Coffee, and California wines are served with the opportunity for the audience members to get up close and personal with the artists.

 A wide range of both classical and contemporary works will be presented as part of the series including End of Time by award-winning choreographer Ben Stevenson, set to Sergei Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G minor. This pas de deux, which Diablo Ballet premiered in 1999, won the gold medal at the 1984 International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, Japan for choreography. The dance showcases fluid, sculptural lifts, giving the appearance of floating in air. “The name of the pas de deux, End of Time, depicts my feeling that after some global devastation only two people remain on earth,” Stevenson said.

Also on the program is Esmeralda Pas de Deux, choreographed by Jules Perrot and set to the music of Cesare Pugni. The ballet, which premiered at Diablo Ballet in 1995, is a high spirited and bravura duet that will be staged by former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer, Joanna Berman. The company will also premiere a new work by Diablo Ballet company member, David Fonnegra and Tolstoy Waltz, choreographed by Christopher Stowell, former Principal Dancer at San Francisco Ballet and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre. This hyper-romantic work premiered at Oregon Ballet Theatre on June 6, 2008 at Portland’s Keller Auditorium and is set to the music of such composers as author Leo Tolstoy and choreographer George Balanchine and Julian Scriabin. Oregon press noted, “Even in a program this strong, it stands out as an instant hit.”

The Inside the Dancer’s Studio series will also feature renowned choreographer, Val Caniparoli’s Fade to Black, premiered by San Francisco Ballet stars Yuri Possokhov and Lorena Feijoo at the September 2001 Gala des Etoiles in Montreal. The duet, which is set to the music of Nina Simone, demonstrates fireworks between a couple in a sassy, sultry and rough-love dance work. Rounding out the program is George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, set to the music of George Gershwin. Who Cares? will be performed live under the musical direction of Greg Sudmeier.

On March 6, 2014, Diablo Ballet will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a special performance at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Featuring stunning works from the Ballet’s 20-year history, the celebration includes the Company premiere of Eugene Loring’s masterpiece, Sweetheart Pas de Deux from Billy the Kid, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias Act 1 Pas de Deux, George Balanchine’s Who Cares? and a new work by acclaimed company dancer/choreographer Robert Dekkers. A film retrospective will be an integral part of the performance, featuring surprises by former alumni dancers.  Following the performance will be a Gala reception and sumptuous dinner with the dancers at Scott’s Garden, walking distance from the Lesher Center.

Also new to the Ballet’s season, Robert Dekkers, dancer and choreographer with Diablo Ballet, has just been promoted to Resident Choreographer. Robert Dekkers received his training at the School of Atlanta Ballet and Gwinnett Ballet Theater. He danced professionally with Ballet Arizona, where he performed in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, and Ib Anderson. He has also performed with ODC/Dance and Company C Contemporary Ballet. Mr. Dekkers began choreographing in 2001, and has created dozens of new works, which have been performed in New York City, Florida, and at the Tanzsommer Festival in Vienna. In 2009, Mr. Dekkers founded Post:Ballet in San Francisco. Mr. Dekkers was named a ’25 To Watch’ artist for 2011 by DANCE Magazine. He joined Diablo Ballet in 2011 dancing roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre and KT Nelson. Mr. Dekkers has also created three new works for Diablo Ballet including The Web Ballet, which garnered international attention and acclaim.

 About Diablo Ballet

For 20 years, Diablo Ballet has been the award-winning, professional dance company for Contra Costa County.  Presenting acclaimed classical and contemporary works, the Company is committed to exposing youth to the arts through the renowned PEEK Youth Outreach Program, bringing arts education to over 5,000 elementary school students in under-served Alameda and Contra Costa counties. PEEK was recently recognized by Congressman John Garamendi and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, for its outstanding contribution to the community.

20th Season Opening:  Performances:  Friday, November 9, 2013, at 2:00 and 8:00 pm.  Location: the Smith Center at Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA. 94539. Purchase tickets online or by calling (925) 943-1775. Friday November 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, November 16, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Location: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.  Purchase tickets online or by calling (925) 943-7469.  Note: Following the November 9th and 16th matinees, ticket holders are invited to meet and mingle with the dancers. Children under 12 may also have their photo taken with the dancers in costume.

Emotions into Movement-Inside the Dancer’s Studio:  Performances:  Friday, January 31, 2014, at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, February 1, 2014, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  Friday, May 9, 2014, at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  Location: Shadelands Arts Center Auditorium, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, CA. 94598.  Purchase online or by calling (925) 943-1775.

Great Masters-Inside the Dancer’s Studio:  Performances:  Friday, April 11, 2014, at 8:00 pm, and Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 8:00 pm.  Location: Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Avenue, Foster City, CA. 94404.  Purchase online or by calling (925) 943-1775.

20th SEASON CELEBRATION: Performance: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm. Location: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.  Purchase tickets online or by calling (925) 943-7469. Gala: Scott’s Garden, 1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA. 94596. Purchase online or by calling (925) 943-1775.

  • SUBSCRIPTION      PACKAGES for the season are also available for $265 for all three Walnut      Creek performances and the March 6th 20th      Anniversary program.  Other      discounted packages include the Saturday matinee series at $243 and a      special youth series at $160.  Among      other privileges, subscribers are invited to private invitational pre- and      post-performance receptions.  New subscribers will receive a special gift from Walnut Creek      Yacht Club in downtown Walnut Creek.

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