The Sarasota Ballet Revisits Two Audience Favorites and Debuts a Company Premiere

March 20, 2014

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The Sarasota Ballet Revisits Two Audience Favorites and Debuts a Company Premiere

in Program Six: Ashton, Graziano, Tudor

Victoria Hulland in Ashton's Birthday Offering - Photo by Frank Atura

Victoria Hulland in Ashton’s Birthday Offering – Photo by Frank Atura

SARASOTA, Fla. – March 20, 2014 – Mixing both old and new, Program Six of The Sarasota Ballet’s 23rd Season – Ashton, Graziano, Tudor – offers something for everyone.  Performances of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Birthday Offering and Ricardo Graziano’s Symphony of Sorrows are back by popular demand, while Antony Tudor’s Gala Performance, a company premiere, will close out the program.

Birthday Offering, a stylish and ravishing one-act ballet, originally commissioned by Ashton for The Royal Ballet’s 25th anniversary, is a true showpiece that highlights a series of seven solos, duets and ensemble dances. Birthday Offering is a classical celebration, with a grand stage set against chandeliers, drapery and candelabras.

This delightful pièce d’occasion was originally created specifically for seven of the Royal Ballet’s ballerinas: Margot Fonteyn, Beryl Grey, Violetta Elvin, Nadia Nerina, Rowena Jackson, Svetlana Beriosova and Elaine Fifield, and their partners. Set to Glazunov’s lyrical and distinctively Russian music, the seven couples make their grand entrance gracefully sweeping around the stage. Various solo performances that showcase the talents of each individual dancer soon follow, culminating in a dance by the entire ensemble.

“The historic importance of this piece cannot be overstated,” said Margaret Barbieri, Assistant Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “Birthday Offering was created as a celebration and it truly marks the transition of The Sadler Wells Ballet Company into The Royal Ballet that we all know today.”

Following Ashton’s classical work, Ricardo Graziano’s Symphony of Sorrows is back by popular demand. Originally premiering two years ago in Theatre of Dreams, Symphony of Sorrows is set to Henryk Górecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” and portrays the reaction of people after the death or loss of a loved one.

“People can drown themselves in their denial, anger, guilt or craziness,” said Graziano. “Help from a family member, friend or even a guardian angel is sometimes needed to bring them back to reality and show them that life has to go on.”

The Sarasota Ballet’s premiere of Tudor’s Gala Performance closes out the program. Making its original debut in 1938 by the London Ballet, Gala Performance tells the story of what happens behind the scenes before a ballet company goes on stage and focuses on three women competing for the prima ballerina spot. Tudor, known for developing the so-called “psychological ballet,” takes a turn at comedy with Gala Performance, one of his few comic ballets.

“Rarely performed by companies anymore, Gala Performance is such an important piece in ballet history,” said Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet.  “I’m honored to bring this rare piece to the Sarasota audiences.”

This comedic satire takes place in a large theatre during the late 19th century and opens backstage, where the members of the ballet company – including the ballet master, conductor and wardrobe personnel – are rehearsing. Each of the three stars set out to steal the limelight from her rivals, while showcasing their own distinctive talents. Tudor’s choreography spoofs the characteristics of the respective Russian, Italian and French ballet styles of the period.

The Sarasota Ballet’s 23rd Season will end with the Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, which will celebrate the international dancer and choreographer.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
Program Six
Ashton, Graziano & Tudor

Sarasota Opera House
61 North Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34236

Friday, April 4 at 8:00pm
Saturday, April 5 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm

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

The Sarasota Ballet is the Gulf Coast of Florida’s only professional ballet company. Since 1990, the Company has been committed to enriching lives, captivating emotions and strengthening the community through the art of dance.
Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb the company has grown to national and international recognition.

Maintaining a diverse repertoire that includes works by world-renowned 20th century choreographers as well as some of the most sought after choreographic talents of today – The Sarasota Ballet offers audience members the unique
opportunity to experience ballets that have never been seen in Florida and rarely in America. Presenting both full-length classical ballets and brand-new world-premieres, the Company receives critical acclaim from New York and
European press.

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