On their toes: Richmond Ballet springs to PVCC

The Richmond Ballet, Virginia’s state ballet, returns to Piedmont Virginia Community College for a three-day residency February 18-20. Included in the schedule are three public events: a performance designed for young people, a full-length, mixed repertory performance, and a master class.
Richmond Ballet’s 2002-03 season marks its 19th anniversary as a professional company. Led by Stoner Winslett, the company is considered one of the most innovative and impressive regional resident ballet troupes in America. Winslett has designed a repertory for the year comprising a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets, featuring commissioned pieces from new choreographers as well as new works of her own.
The program includes dances by such renowned choreographers as George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jose Limon, Agnes de Mille, and Frederic Franklin.
Works scheduled for the full-length performance on Thursday, February 20, are the poignant and elegant Three Preludes, choreographed by Ben Stevenson with music by Rachmaninoff; Bach Brandenburg III, choreographed by Charles Czarny with music by Bach; the pas de deux from the classic Coppélia; and Vestiges, a dramatic work choreographed by Colin Connor with music by Michael Nyman.
Three Preludes is a one-act work composed of three pas de deux for one couple accompanied by a pianist who performs on stage. Set to the music of Serge Rachmaninoff, the piece begins quietly across a ballet barre and builds through the dancers’ interaction to an intimate love story.
PVCC spokesperson Mary Jane King says, “Bach Brandenburg III radiates the joyful humor of choreographer Charles Czarny. The ballet combines unusual props including swinging doors and helium balloons with inventive dancing for a delightful theater experience.”
The grand pas de deux from Coppélia (the ballet currently being produced by the company in Richmond) shows the high level of technical excellence achieved by the ballerina and her cavalier. The drama builds as the dancers move through intricate footwork, stunning lifts, and exciting jumps.
Vestiges explores what happens when the world is shattered and the outer trappings of security are lost. In the midst of ruin, human beings recapture the sources of their power and their natural elegance. Colin Connor created this modern work for the Richmond Ballet in 2000 and returned to reinvent the piece in light of the events of September 11, 2001.

The performance for youth is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19. The program lasts about an hour and includes a sampling from the company’s repertoire as narrated by a member of the artistic staff. The program is designed to reach a young audience with a program of dance and discussion that shows how much fun ballet can be. The general public performance will take place on Thursday, February 20, on the main stage of the V. Earl Dickinson Building, Piedmont Virginia Community College, 501 College Drive. Tickets are available at both Charlottesville locations of Plan 9, Spencer’s, and at the box office two hours before each performance. 7:30pm. $6-17. Youth performance, $5. 961-5376.

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