Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Virginia Ballet Theatre Celebrates 60 Years This Weekend

Hampton Roads’ premiere and oldest professional ballet company in Virginia is celebrating a milestone anniversary. This weekend, Virginia Ballet Theatre is bringing to the stage its 60th Anniversary Concert, hosted by The University Theatre at Old Dominion University.

Artistic Director Ricardo Melendez has curated a spectacular night of performances in celebration. The program blends classical with contemporary in a way that Melendez proudly says will “captivate but ask you to think. We aspire to redraw the shapes around beauty and balance, to find new truths through the harmony of movement and cultural celebrations.”

The program will open with an iconic excerpt from classical repertoire: the Peasant pas de duex from Giselle featuring Hampton Roads’ native Felecia Baker and welcoming our new company member, Brandon Penn. A romantic performance in two acts, Giselle is a classical ballet favorite full of joy, bravura, and technical prowess set to the music of Adolph Adam.

Returning by popular demand, Virginia Ballet Theater will present audience and company favorite La Casa, choreographed by Director Ricardo Melendez to the sound of String Quartet #3 by contemporary Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. Based on The House of Bernarda Alba by Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca, La Casa combines Lorca’s traditional Spanish roots; themes of passion, conformity, and the never-ending push-and-pull between lovers; the love and darkness that speaks to the pain of coming-of-age; and the shapes of 21st century ballet idioms to form a narrative ballet that will always astound—whether it’s the first time for the audience or the hundredth.

The evening continues with FRAGILE set to the contemporary piece Sonata for Cello by the popular composer Gyorgy Ligeti. Originally inspired by Danielle Tegeder’s art entitled “Lightness as it Behaves in Turbulence,” FRAGILE is a neoclassical piece that captures the American influences to the world of classical ballet fusing efforts, lines, and rhythms inspired by the unrelenting search for escape relevant to life today. Ricardo Melendez’s choreography is an experiment with classical ballet idioms colliding with
contemporary movements—or, as Ricardo calls it, “an allegorical image of fragility as it confronts obstacles.”

The program will conclude with the world premiere of Campestral, an original contemporary ballet piece to the music of Afro- Peruvian singer and songwriter Susana Bacca. Choreographed by Ricardo Melendez, this work combines folkloric tendencies and ballet idioms into a celebration of Afro Caribbean rhythms and movements. At times tender, sensual, wistful, or just plain fun, this new addition to our repertory is certain to engage the audience in a celebration of life.

More information is available at TRDance.org.

Virginia Ballet Theatre 60th Anniversary Concert at Old Dominion University
February 11-12, 2022 at 8:00 p.m., February 13, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.
University Theatre, Old Dominion University
4700 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508
Tickets: $25 adults / $15 students

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