The Sarasota Ballet Presents Program Four – Balanchine, Tuckett, Ashton – Featuring a Balanchine Classic, a Tuckett World-Premiere and an Ashton Rarity
Balanchine, Tuckett, Ashton, The Sarasota Ballet’s fourth program of the season opens on Friday, Jan. 31 and features three ballets never before seen by the Sarasota community. With two company-premieres – George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sinfonietta – along with a world-premiere by Will Tuckett, these ballets cover almost 70 years of dance technique and style.
Balanchine’s Four Temperaments first premiered in November of 1946 and is one of his most popular works. This ballet visually depicts the ancient Greek theory of Humorism, a medical philosophy that postulates that an excess or deficiency of any of the four ‘humors’ influences a person’s temperament and health. The theory suggests that each of the humors is linked to one of four temperaments: sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and thoughtful) and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet). Balanchine’s ballet, set to a composition by German composer Paul Hindemith, depicts each of the four temperaments in different movements that include solos, couples, quartets and an ending ensemble.
“The essence of this ballet focuses on human geometry and movement, it’s beautiful,” explains Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “The simple leotards that the dancers perform in allow the audience to focus on Balanchine’s remarkable choreography.”
Following Balanchine’s 67-year-old classic, The Sarasota Ballet debuts another world premiere by Will Tuckett. After last year’s successful unveiling of Changing Light, Tuckett’s new work will also feature music commissioned specifically for his use. As with all Tuckett ballets, this world premiere is sure to mesmerize and entertain audiences.
“I’m just as excited about this ballet as any patron,” said Webb. “I can’t wait to see what Tuckett will create. It’s always brilliant.”
The final ballet of the program is Ashton’s Sinfonietta. First premiering in 1967, and considered by some as “The Forgotten Ballet,” this rare work has not been performed since the early 1980s. Closely following the structure of commissioned orchestral score by Malcolm Williamson, the classical ballet has three distinct movements Toccata, Elegy and Tarantella. It’s essentially a mood ballet, responding to the music via the dancers’ movements and costumes. Showcasing precise footwork, virtuoso technical choreography, a moving adagio and a spirited southern Italian folk dance, Sinfonietta holds a special spot in the heart of The Sarasota Ballet’s Assistant Director, Margaret Barbieri, having danced in the piece during her time in The Royal Ballet.
“I was in the Corps de Ballet dancer when Sir Fred choreographed Sinfonietta. It was my first opportunity working directly with him and it was a thrilling experience that I’ll always treasure,” said Barbieri. “I remember so clearly the fast footwork and the tricky counts of the third movement. Being one of only six girls performing within the six couples, one was very exposed if you got it wrong.”
Due to the high demand for tickets to attend the January/February performances in the past, The Sarasota Ballet has added a sixth performance this year – Monday Feb. 3. This will allow all patrons the opportunity to see this wonderful program.
Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
Balanchine, Tuckett, Ashton
FSU Center for the Performing Arts
5555 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 1 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Monday, February 3 at 7 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased online 24 hours a day, seven days a week with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. The box office can be contacted by calling (941) 359-0099 x101.
About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990 The Sarasota Ballet, the Gulf Coast of Florida’s only professional ballet company, has been enriching lives, captivating emotions and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, the Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Ninette de Valois, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, John Cranko, Hans van Manen, Andre Prokovsky, Dominic Walsh, Christopher Wheeldon and Matthew Bourne. Receiving national and international recognition for their diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, The Sarasota Ballet was recently noted by Sarah Kaufman, a dance critic for The Washington Post to be “…the jewel of this year’s ‘Ballet Across America,’” a 2013 showcase of the best ballet companies from across the nation at the Kennedy Center.
About The Ashton Festival
The 2014 Ashton Festival is being staged by The Sarasota Ballet to honor the life and works of the Royal Ballet’s founding choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton (1909-1988). As one of ballet’s most notable choreographers, Ashton has been a leading influence for The Sarasota Ballet’s repertoire since 2007, with the Company presenting more Ashton ballets each season than any other American Company. A dance and theatre critic for the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay, noted “The Sarasota Ballet has suddenly become America’s foremost exponent of Ashton ballets.” Held in Sarasota, Florida, the four day celebration spans from April 30th to May 3rd, and will feature lectures, demonstrations and an eclectic array of 11 Ashton ballets performed by The Sarasota Ballet.