January 10, 2012

Press Releases


Since my article on the backstage problems at Ballet San Jose, their press office has stopped sending me press releases.  Nevertheless, I am reliably kept up to date on developments, and here is the latest company announcement. The dancers have been laid-off since December 24th 2011, cautious about making any plans to go home for the holidays or travel at all, as they had no idea whether they’d have a season to come back to, and this announcement co-incides with their return to work today.


(San Jose, CA) Ballet San Jose (BSJ) has announced its 2012 season which opens March 2 and runs through May 6, 2012. The three-program season will feature a large number of company premieres including Jerome Robbins’ Interplay, Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto and Ben Stevenson’s full-length story ballet, Cinderella.  In additional news the company has previously announced a new partnership with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and the forthcoming implementation of the ABT National Training Curriculum in the Ballet San Jose School, and is announcing changes to the BSJ Board of Trustees and appointments to the Artistic Staff.

Program One slated for March 2-4 opens with the iconic classical ballet Paquita (after Marius Petipa’s 1881 revival of the work with music by Ludwig Minkus.) Also on the bill is the company premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Interplay, a work in four movements set to selections from “American Concertette” by composer Morton Gould. Interplay preceded Robbins’ ground-breaking choreography for West Side Story and is considered an American Masterpiece. It is the first Jerome Robbins piece ever to be performed by Ballet San Jose. David Lichine’s ‘high-life’ one-act ballet Graduation Ball will conclude the program.

Program Two runs April 13-15 and will feature the company premiere of George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s unfinished Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat, Opus 75.  Jessica Lang’s pas de deux, Splendid Isolation III, is also slated for the program along with Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto set to Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin, Op.26. A fourth work to be named later will also be on the program.

Program Three (May 4-6) is the company premiere of Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella set to music by Sergei Prokofiev.  All the classic elements are here: the ugly stepsisters (danced by company men with cross-dressing humor) an elaborate masquerade ball, and Cinderella’s arrival in horse-drawn chariot. Replete with romance, comedy and magic, Stevenson’s Cinderella is the most produced version of this family-favorite fairytale ballet.

As previously announced, Ballet San Jose has formed a partnership with American Ballet Theatre that will serve as a catalyst for new and rapid growth for its professional company and the Ballet San Jose School. This unique partnership has already provided BSJ with access to ABT’s vast creative resources and huge repertory of nineteenth and twentieth century ballets and commissioned works.  An advisory staff will implement the ABT National Training Curriculum in the Ballet San Jose School after which the school will become the only certified institution on the west coast to provide the complete ABT Curriculum.

Simultaneous to these changes, the Ballet San Jose Board of Trustees has been reconfigured. Lorraine Gilmore, corporate operations officer at Ampere Life Sciences, director of the office of the CEO at Edison Pharmaceuticals, and past director of education and outreach for American Musical Theatre of San Jose, has succeeded John Fry as chair. “I look forward to working with Executive Director Stephanie Ziesel and my fellow trustees to develop the board,” said Gilmore, “Ballet San Jose has an incredible horizon, partnering with American Ballet Theatre both in productions and with the certification program for the School. The collaboration with ABT will strengthen an already outstanding company, and provide new and exciting performances for the bay area audiences, challenging opportunities for its dancers, and nationally acclaimed training for the students of the School.” New trustees also include Valerie Burniece and Gareth Keane. (See trustee bios below.) Current trustees Mike Fulton and Kathy Kolder will continue to serve on the board. John Fry has resigned from the board; he and Fry’s Electronics will continue their generous financial support of BSJ.

The Board of Trustees remains in discussions with Artistic Director Dennis Nahat to define a continuing relationship that attempts to preserve his outstanding legacy, ensure his works remain in the repertory, and honor the enormous artistic contributions he has made to the organization.

Raymond Rodriguez, who has been with the company since 1981 first as a dancer and then as Regisseur, will assume an elevated artistic leadership role with Ballet San Jose as Principal Ballet Master. This is a permanent appointment. “After spending 30 years with Ballet San Jose / Cleveland Ballet as a Principal Dancer and Regisseur, I am looking forward to the next chapter in my career,” said Rodriguez.  In addition, Wes Chapman (see resume below) has been engaged for the season as an artistic consultant and will assist in getting the coming season up as well as to begin planning next season. “I look forward to working with Raymond Rodriguez and the dancers to continue advancing Ballet San Jose’s artistry” said Chapman. Chapman, in tandem with Rodriguez will both provide interim leadership and help pave the way for the roll-out of the ABT Curriculum in the School.

Subscriptions to the 2012 Season will go on sale January 16th.  Single tickets to the three individual programs will be available after February 13th.  Subscriptions: $78.00 to $255.00. Single Tickets: $30 to $100 (Available beginning February 6th.) Additional information will be posted at on the Ballet San Jose website as it becomes available. The Ballet Box Office number is 408.288.2800. (All programs are subject to change.)

Supplemental Materials (Bios)


Lorraine Gilmore
Lorraine is the current director of the office of the CEO, part of senior leadership, and responsible for the operations of Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She is also the corporate operations officer at Ampere Life Sciences. Lorraine established the infrastructure for both of these Mountain View-based pharmaceutical companies, as well as the bay area offices of DMB, a diversified real estate company. From 1993 to 2005, Lorraine worked at American Musical Theatre of San Jose (AMTSJ); as the director of education and outreach, she increased the number of individuals served to more than 15,000 per year, and more specifically, brought the High School Music Theatre HONORS Awards back to the San Jose Center for Performing Arts (CPA). She also implemented the installation of an open captioning system at the CPA, making performances accessible to patrons who were deaf or hard-of-hearing, and making AMTSJ the first major musical theatre company in the country to offer this service at all productions. In addition to providing pro-bono operations consulting for Ballet San Jose’s management staff, Lorraine has spent the past several years serving as a “senior friend” with Friends for Youth Mentoring Services, a program with success far beyond the national average in helping young people stay out of trouble. As a San Jose resident for over 30 years, an avid ballroom dancer, musician, and patron of the arts, Lorraine has attended Ballet San Jose’s performances since its inception as the San Jose Cleveland Ballet.

Valerie Burniece
Valerie brings over twenty years of experience in the areas of Finance and Administration, Strategic Planning, and Operations. As a consultant, she has worked with clients to maximize revenue growth, operating efficiencies and shareholder value. Prior to consulting she served as CFO for several startups. Valerie’s corporate experience includes premier Silicon Valley companies including Cisco Systems, Apple, and Lam Research.  Valerie’s credentials include a B.A. in Political Science from The Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, M.B.A. (Northeastern University) and M.S. Accounting (New Hampshire College). Valerie is active in the community work, serving on the Boards Hospice of the Valley, PACE (Pacific Autism Center for Education), and the Silicon Valley Capital Club. She also was the Interim CFO for the San Jose Symphony and worked with Michael Hackworth to author the five year plan that became the underpinning of Symphony San Jose Silicon Valley.

Gareth Keane
Gareth Keane is currently working with Texas Instruments in a Corporate Development role, focused on strategic investment/corporate VC opportunities, M&A, and corporate strategy.  He holds a PhD from the Queen’s University of Belfast, and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he was selected as a Non-Profit Board Leadership Fellow working with the Rock School for Dance Education, a leading Philadelphia arts non-profit focused on excellence in dance education. Dr. Keane is a member of Class 15 of the Kauffman Fellows Program, a highly sought-after two-year program dedicated exclusively to the world of venture capital and the cultivation of new high-technology, high-growth, high-impact companies. He lives in San Jose with his wife and two children.


Artistic Consultant

A native of Union Springs, Alabama, Chapman graduated from Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1983 with the Duane Dushion Award and the Prix d’excellence de Danse Award. After dancing for Alabama Ballet for one season Chapman joined American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in 1984 as a member of the corps de ballet.  He was promoted to Soloist in 1987 and to Principal  Dancer in 1989.  With ABT, Chapman performed all the leading roles in the ballet repertoire and in works by many of the twentieth century’s master choreographers, including George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jiri Killian, Fredrick Ashton, Mats Ek, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham and Antony Tudor.  He also created leading roles in Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 and Twyla Tharp’s The Elements. Chapman has appeared in Dance in America, the film Dancers and the  documentary Ballet as well as numerous television shows and featured on national news broadcasts. In 1993, he joined the Bavarian National Ballet as a principal dancer before returning to ABT in 1995. Chapman appeared with Hamburg Ballet, English National Ballet, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and Finnish National Ballet as a guest star.

In 1996, Chapman was named Artistic Director of Alabama Ballet.  During his leadership, the company grew from 16 to 44 professional and apprentice dancers.  He also founded the Alabama Ballet School, the apprentice pre-professional training  program, Alabama Ballet Summer Program and Gorham’s Bluff  Summer Residency.  Chapman received the Distinguished Career Award from the University of Alabama in 1998, Birmingham Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 in 2004, and was named Alabama Arts Ambassador by Governor Bill Riley in 2007. Chapman restaged for Alabama Ballet many of the full-length classical ballets including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Coppelia as well as various one act works such as Paquita, Raymonda Act III and Carnival in Venice. Chapman acquired Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, stared in Alabama Public Television’s Jekyll and Hyde, and the Making of Romeo and Juliet.

Mr. Chapman returned to ABT as ballet master in 2006 before being named Artistic Director of ABT II in 2007-2011. Chapman oversees the ABT Summer Intensive at the University of Texas Austin, hosts ABT’s Works and Process at the Guggenheim  Museum, Young People’s Ballet Workshop and ABTKids. He also performs with ABT in various character roles and teaches company class on a regular basis.  Additionally he serves as a national spokesperson for Regional Dance America and as dance advisor for Angelina Ballerina.

Principal Ballet Master

Raymond Rodriguez was born in New York City and began tap dancing at the age of six. While attending the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, he studied ballet and began training at the American Ballet Theatre School. While on scholarship, he was privately taught by Jurgeon Schneider and gained performing experience with American Ballet Theatre in children’s roles and later as an apprentice. He joined Cleveland Ballet (now Ballet San Jose) in 1981. Mr. Rodriguez had a diverse repertoire as a principal dancer with roles that included Albrect in Giselle, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, The Peruvian in Gaite Parisienne, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Profiteer in The Green Table, the principal male in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Don Jose in Roland Petit’s Carmen along with many other roles created for him by Dennis Nahat. Partnered with Karen Gabay, he performed at the Anniversary Gala for the Queen of Denmark’s Silver Anniversary. He is also a Co-Artistic Director for Pointe of Departure, Cleveland, Ohio’s summer classical ballet company.

He made his film debut in Rent and appeared in Dancing with the Stars coaching football legend Jerry Rice. He staged Nahat’s Moments for Pittsburg Ballet Theatre and Brahm’s Quintet for the St. Louis Ballet in 2007. During Ballet San Jose’s China Goodwill Tour 2008, he taught all the children’s roles in The Firebird. He has performed, assisted and remounted works by Flemming Flindt, most notably The Toreador, where he performed the title role at its company premiere and staged the work for the 2008-09 season, for which he won an Isadora Duncan Award. The last two summers, Mr. Rodriguez was a guest instructor for the Bartholin International Ballet Seminar held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

2012 Season at a Glance

PROGRAM ONE (March 2-4, 2012)
Paquita (Company Premiere)
Choreography: After Marius Petipa
Composers: Ludwig Minkus (original music by Edouard Deldevez)
World Premiere: Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia in 1847
Originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier and presented at the Salle LePeletier by the Paris Opera Ballet on April 1, 1846. Petipa and Pierre-Frederic Malevergne staged the 1847 version and Petipa produced a revival in 1881 for which he added new pieces composed by Ludwig Minkus. This included the Grand Pas classique and the Mazurka des enfants from Act II.
SHORT BYTE: Marius Petipa’s 1881 additions for Paquita survived long after the full-length ballet left the stage. Today these pieces, particularly the Grand pas classique, are major cornerstones of the traditional classical ballet repertory, and have been staged by ballet companies throughout the world.

Interplay  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Composer: Morton Gould
Music: American Concertette
World Premiere: First presented by Billy Rose, in Concert Varieties, at the Ziegfeld Theatre, New York, June 1, 1945.
Original Cast: John Kriza, Janet Reed, and Jerome Robbins
SHORT BYTE: Interplay is a ballet in four movements made for eight dancers; four boys and four girls. It has no subject matter and no locale. It is Robbins first ballet and a distinctly American work. With a simple setting of a plain colored backdrop and informal costumes, the music is loud and brassy at the beginning; the score raucous and playful. It is justly considered an American Masterpiece.

Graduation Ball  (Company Revival)
Choreography: David Lichine
Composer: Johann Strauss
Arranger: Antal Dorati
Music: Various pieces from Strauss
World Premiere: Presented by the Original Ballet Russe at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, Australia, February 28, 1940.
Original Cast: Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine in the leading roles.
SHORT BYTE: David Lichine’s ‘high-life’ one-act ballet in Ballet Russe style is the story of a party. Young girls at a fashionable school in Vienna host a party for the graduates of a nearby military academy. The girls and boys meet, entertain themselves with a series of dances and discover romance…as do the school’s Headmistress and the pompous old general of the academy.

PROGRAM TWO (April 13-15, 2012)

Allegro Brillante  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: George Balanchine
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Music: Unfinished Piano Concert No. 3 in E flat, Opus 75
Run Time: 13 minutes
World Premiere: New York City Ballet at the City Center, New York, March 1, 1956.
Original Cast: Maria Tallchief and Nicholas Magallanes; Carolyn George, Barbara Fallis, Barbara Millberg, Barbara Walczak, Arthur Mitchell, Richard Rapp, Jonathan Watts, and Roland Vasquez.
SHORT BYTE: A work of expansive Russian romanticism, Balanchine said of Allegro Brillante, “It contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.” The ballet requires strong dancing, precise timing, and breadth of gesture. The piece is arranged for two principals and an ensemble and has no narrative idea, Balanchine only “wishing to have the dancers complement the music.” It is set to the last music Tchaikovsky ever composed.

Splendid Isolation III  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Jessica Lang
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Music: Adagietto
Costumes: Elena Comendador
World Premiere: Splendid Isolation III was originally created for NBA Ballet’s Golden Ballet Co-Star Gala and was given its world premiere at Mielparque Hall, Tokyo, Japan on August 4, 2007.
Original Cast: Maria Riccetto and Koichi Kubo.
Time: 10 minutes
SHORT BYTE: A pas de deux of high theatricality with a woman in a luminous white gown that is a symbol of perfection and imprisonment.

TBA (An additional work To Be Announced)

Bruch Violin Concerto  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Clark Tippet
Composer: Max Bruch
Music: Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin, Op. 26
Costumes: Dain Marcus
World Premiere: Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA December 1, 1987. Commissioned for American Ballet Theatre
Original Cast: Leslie Brown, Susan Jaffe, Cheryl Yeager, Amanda McKerrow, John Gardner, Ricardo Bustamante, Wes Chapman, Clark Tippet
SHORT BYTE: Clark Tippet’s second ballet (following Enough Said) resembles a conventional plotless tutu ballet in the classical mode, but highly experimental in its use of classical technique to comment on ballet conventions from a contemporary perspective. Set to the familiar concert piece by Max Bruch with four principal couples and a corps of eight more couples, it has been called “an extended essay on the brisk, abstract, neo-classical style perfected by George Balanchine…full of perfectly timed canons and complex, stage-crossing patterns.”

PROGRAM THREE (May 4-6, 2012)

Cinderella  (Company Premiere)
Choreography: Ben Stevenson
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Scenery and Costumes: David Walker
World Premiere: National Ballet of Washington at the Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C. April, 24, 1970.
SHORT BYTE: All the classic elements are here: the ugly stepsisters (danced by company men with cross-dressing humor), an elaborate masquerade ball, and Cinderella’s arrival in horse-drawn chariot. Replete with romance, comedy and magic, this fairytale story ballet is guaranteed to entertain all ages.


TICKETS: Subscriptions are available Monday, January 16th.
Subscriptions: $78.00 to $255.00
Single Tickets: $30 to $100 (Available beginning February 6th.)

BOX OFFICE: (408) 288.2800 or online at Ballet San Jose’s website
Ballet Box Office is located at 40 North First Street in downtown San Jose.

PERFORMANCES: All performances are at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Boulevard (at the corner of Park Avenue) in downtown San Jose.

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