Tag Archive: nevada ballet theatre


Two summer traditions will be gracing stages in Las Vegas in June: the Nevada Ballet Theatre-Cirque du Soleil collaborative concert “A Choreographers’ Showcase,” and “Ribbon of Life,” presented by Golden Rainbow and benefiting those living with HIV/AIDS.

“A Choreographers’ Showcase,” now in its fifth year, gives the artistic minds in NBT and Cirque a chance to choreograph on themselves and each other. The concert tends to be a lively mix of fresh ideas and excellent dancing. Catch the show at 1 p.m. on June  9 and 10 at the Viva Elvis theater at CityCenter. Tickets are $20 and $40 and can be purchased by calling 702-590-7760 or by clicking here.

“Ribbon of Life” is another long-standing tradition; this is the 26th anniversary of the show. Choreographers come from all over the city, lending the show a diverse and vibrant feel that has the added perk of raising thousands of dollars for Golden Rainbow, a nonprofit organization. “Ribbon of Life” will be performed at 1 p.m. on June 24 at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Smith Center box office at 702-749-2000.

Tomorrow’s the big day! NBT will be joined in concert by Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Carla Korbes and Seth Orza and American Ballet Theater’s Herman Cornejo in celebration of NBT’s 40th year and its debut at the Smith Center. Pop musician Matt Goss will be accompanying a new work by Canfield to top off the evening.

“Red Angels,” a work by Ulysses Dove, is on the docket (PNB soloists Lucien Postlewaite and Sarah Ricard Orza will join in for that one), as is the infamous “Serenade” by George Balanchine. On KNPR’s “State of Nevada” program this morning, Canfield and Boal spoke of the Balanchine with a kind of reverence, and they both acknowledging the almost religious feeling that accompanies the number. Pair that with NBT dancers and live music and you’re good to go.

If this tease isn’t quite enough for you, drop by the KNPR website to listen to the full story. The concert is tomorrow, May 5, at 7 p.m. at the Smith Center. Tickets range from $43-$128 and can be purchased online or by calling 702-749-2000.

Nevada Ballet Theatre won’t be alone when it steps a slippered foot onstage in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center on May 5: an impressive lineup of guest musicians and dancers will join in for the thoroughly dance-centric debut of “Dance, Music, Style and Class.” NBT is celebrating its 40-year tenure in Las Vegas this season and is the resident ballet company of the new venue.

If the splendor of the new performing arts center isn’t enough to make concert-goers a little weak in the knees, the artists that will grace the stage probably will. NBT will open the concert with George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” set to Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings,” and will be backed by members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic orchestra.

Live music, check.

Carla Korbes and Seth Orza of Pacific Northwest Ballet are set to dance the classic White Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake,” and Lucien Postlewaite and Sarah Ricard Orza, also from PNB, will join them for “Red Angels,” a contemporary work by the esteemed Ulysses Dove. Mary Rowell, concertmaster of Radio City Music Hall, will be accompanying the dancers on electric violin for “Red Angels,” exemplifying Dove’s signature drama and excitement.

Gilded guest artists, check.

But wait, there’s more! American Ballet Theater’s principal Herman Cornejo will contribute his balletic two cents as well. NBT is slated to top off the evening with an original piece by artistic director James Canfield that’s set to the music of Matt Goss and his band, which headlines at Ceasears Palace. Goss and his posse have been called the “Best New Act in Vegas” by the L.A. Times, making the group a natural partner for another of Canfield’s collaborative forays into pop culture.

Strong local vibe and multi-genre jamming? Check and check.

Whew. Got all that? If you’d like to see the show, hit up the NBT box office online or call the Smith Center at 702-749-2000. Tickets are $43, $68, $98 and $128 (plus fees). $503 nets access to a gala reception with the artists after the concert. The show starts at 7 p.m. on May 5 at, you got it, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Nevada Ballet Theatre crowned its year of milestones on Dec. 17-24 with a version of the “Nutcracker” that was a sweet sip of tradition and contemporary creativity. This year, the company turned 40, the “Nutcracker” tradition turned 30 and this year marked NBT’s third year performing at Paris Las Vegas. Don’t let the long history fool you, though. Artistic director James Canfield’s partnerships with choreographers like Ballet Idaho’s Peter Anastos contributes to the progressive feel of classic works like “The Nutcracker.”

Anastos was the choreographic brain behind this year’s production and his whimsical movement, while not vintage “Nutcracker,” somehow suited the Las Vegas aura. Holly Madison of “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood also had a brief cameo in a matinee performance. Balletomanes might be cringing, but it’s hard to argue with something that makes a classical ballet more approachable to a wide audience.

As a whole, the ballet fit the bill as a sugary-sweet holiday confection. Warm pantomime set the scene in the first act, with children carrying garlands and gifts madly dashing around decked-out adults. An air of geniality mantled the party scene and the exuberant academy students lent a rosy glow.

Marcus Bugler as Herr Drosselmeyer was wisely cast; his effervescent animation of the magician was infectious as he ushered the children and the plot along. Josue Calderon and Betsy Lucas as Fritz and Clara, respectively, embodied bubbly excitement admirably. The brief pas de deux between Clara and Preston Swovelin’s Nutcracker Doll in the first act was delightfully sweet and sincere.

Leigh Hartley’s Ballerina Doll would have been the perfect object of a young girl’s affection, blowing kisses and tottering about. The Mouse Doll, danced by Ariel Triunfo, was spunky and precise, eliciting laughs from the audience in short order. The battle scene, populated as it was by munchkins in mice costumes, continued the adorable ambience.

The Snow King and Queen, danced by Grigori Arakelyan and Leigh Hartley, amplified the dreamlike nature of Anastos’ choreography. Hartley’s airy suspension suited the role, although the multitude of partnered penches left the audience with an inkling that Hartley could do more — with one of her exemplary side extensions, perhaps. Nonetheless, the delicately falling snow was another Las Vegas Easter egg and the frosty royalty, accompanied by flurries of Snowflakes, concluded the first act well.

The Kingdom of Sweets, enchanting as it is, was further exemplified by Anastos’ playful choreography. Sarah Fuhrman’s pert Sugarplum and Amy Von Handorf’s Arabian variation stood out as especially fresh, and Jeremy Bannon-Neches as a grandiose Cavalier was a strong complement. While purists might dispute the contemporary riffs, the modifications were refreshing for a ballet with such tenure. Zachary Hartley was outstanding in an unorthodox, one-man Russian variation, wowing the audience with robust displays of double fans, coffee grinders and high-flying leaps.

Alissa Dale’s Dewdrop Fairy flounced delicately with a company of flowers in the iconic waltz, the length of which was offset by the activity that remained at a nice simmer. The Spanish chocolate was full of spice and sass and the reed flutes number was a gilded and candy-sweet affair. The bright and chipper Chinese tea number and NBT’s signature saltwater taffy sailors rounded out the act in fanciful style.

Overall, NBT and Peter Anastos seem to be a good match. Perhaps the biggest tragedy in the show was the lack of live music, especially in a city that is full of more-than qualified musicians.

Beyond the holidays, though, Canfield’s willingness to experiment bodes well for a company that will soon have large slippers to fill. In May, the company will be stepping into a theater at the Smith Center that will seat more than 2,000 people, which is a daunting prospect for any regional company. However, NBT seems well positioned to make this transition, and being backed by the Las Vegas Philharmonic (also at the Smith Center) likely won’t hurt either.

Nutcrackers are creaking to life all over the city, trailed by sugarplum fairies and tragicomedy clowns alike. Nevada Ballet Theatre’s classic production is holding down the fort for the ballet purists while Insurgo Theater continues its tradition of a postmodern stage show at the Plaza.

NBT’s expansive, pointe shoe-clad cast will be debuting at Paris Las Vegas on Dec. 17 for an extended 10-show run. This year’s production is choreographed by Ballet Idaho’s artistic director Peter Anastos, hailed for his light-hearted choreography and whimsy. The show features more than 100 roles for children and the full pantheon of Nutcracker royalty from the sugar-coated Land of Sweets. (For a review of last year’s “Nutcracker,” follow the link here.)

Update, Dec. 20: Click here to read Julia Osborne’s review of NBT’s “Nutcracker” on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.

Ticket prices range from around $38 to about $131 and matinee and evening performances are available. For more information and to reserve tickets, click here or call 702-946-4567.

Insurgo is turning tradition on its head in typical indie-theater style. “The Insurgo Nutcracker,” now in its third year, will run from Dec. 19 through Jan. 7 on the third floor of the Plaza Hotel and Casino downtown. This year’s iteration will incorporate new characters with a cast of the tried and true. The performance will feature dancer and actor Michelle Meyer and actress and vocalist Melanie Ash, with actor Brandon Oliver Jones as the titular Nutcracker.

Running time for the Insurgo show is about 40 minutes and it’s suitable for adults and offspring alike. Tickets are $15 plus taxes and fees and sponsored tickets for families in need are available. For more details about tickets and venue, visit the show’s event page here. (A review of last year’s show is available here.)

Happy holidays from the Las Vegas Dance Insider! May your heads be filled with visions of sugarplums, or dumpster-diving Samuel Beckett-style traicomedy clowns, or whatever. Cheers!

Nevada Ballet Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago joined forces for a concert of counterpoints on Oct. 29 and 30 at Paris Las Vegas. The companies, directed by James Canfield and Glenn Edgerton, respectively, offset each other nicely in classical and contemporary works and the house was commendably full for Halloween weekend.

The stage at Paris played host to dichotomous pieces: NBT began the show with George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco,” appropriately styled with a sparse stage and stark white costumes. Hubbard Street’s “Too Beaucoup” comprised what Canfield and Edgerton both called an antithesis, captivating in its contemporary isolations and deep, black stage. (If you’re paying attention, yes, the floor was switched — twice, from white marley to black and back again. The wait for each was less than ideal but certainly acceptable given the circumstances.)

The juxtaposition was nice. NBT did well with Balanchine’s choreography; the unforgivably symmetrical staging was well executed and the dancers were musically in tune enough to do well by Mr. B. The natural dynamism of the piece glimmered through, although a touch more personality from individual dancers would have been the cherry on top. Demetria Schioldager, a creature of elastic arabesques, partnered well with Grigori Arakelyan and added some quiet composure to the busy number. It wasn’t all graceful extensions, though, as a number of choreographed slides added an element of Balanchinian derring-do.

Hubbard Street’s “Too Beaucoup” was, as the name implies, nearly too much indeed. Choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar set some fantastic movement to music by Ori Lichtik and the effect was other-worldly. Watching the piece was something akin to staring at a double-jointed dancer cracked out on caffeine moving in ridiculous ways with a strobe-light in the background.

The quality of movement was foreign and intriguing, with the odd quad pirouette or split layout thrown in for kicks. The visual cacophony, designed to explore the nature of individuals functioning within a larger system, seemed to warrant a quiet rest and a sip of water for mentally overstretched audience members. Kylian’s artistic statement was well established, although the piece probably could have ended 10 minutes earlier and had just as much impact. The audience response, however, was explosive.

“Petit Mort,” another Hubbard work choreographed by Jiri Kylian of Nederlands Dans Theater, was a beautiful step in a more classical direction. The piece was full of attenuated limbs and twining partnering, hoop skirts, kinetic physicality and swords. The fencing foils even served as impromptu dance partners and added, forgive me, an edge. The movement was enthralling, punctuated by the snick of swords, and comical in turn. There is something quite funny, after all, in a dancer that suddenly zips out from behind the free-standing hoop skirt and bodice you thought she was wearing.

NBT’s “Cinq Gnossiennes” was a poignant meditation on the nature of relationships set to Erik Satie’s nuanced piano accompaniment, performed by Carol Rich. Canfield’s contemporary choreography melded well with the company’s classical technique and the mesh allowed a broader spectrum of emotion to sift through. The lighting accentuated this, shifting with each movement but maintaining the core theme. It was a lovely and affecting set to watch.

“Up,” NBT’s suite of variations to different renditions of Rodgers and Hart’s “Blue Moon,” served as a sweet, if somewhat anticlimactic, finale. The mood swung from cute and pink to blue and jazzy to whimsical, exuberant and sexy. It’s difficult not to appreciate the creativity spawned from a single motif, although audiences without a predilection for the tune might be out of luck.

Despite the nearly three-hour running time, “Dance Dance Dance!” was a lively and varied program. Classical ballet and Chicago jazz mixed well at the hands of Canfield and Edgerton, partners in crime whose shennanigans date back to their days in the Joffrey company together. This amiable relationship was obvious throughout the show. Perhaps, a year from now, Hubbard Street and NBT will be bumping elbows in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center.

Penny Saunders and Pablo Piantino of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago perform Jiri Kylian's "Petite Mort." Photo by Todd Rosenberg

It’s Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 40th season this year and the company is joining hands with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to kick it of properly. “Dance Dance Dance!” opens at Paris Las Vegas on Oct. 29 and 30 and will include George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Jirí Kylián’s”Petite Mort,” Sharon Eyal’s and Gaï Behar’s “Too Beaucoup” and James Canfield’s “Up” and “Cinq Gnossiennes.”

For single tickets to “Dance Dance Dance!,” give the Paris Theatre Box Office a ring at 702-946-4567 or click here. Catch the show on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. or Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. An opening night special offer is available; $40 buys a ticket to the Oct. 29 show and a front-of-the-line, no-cover pass to Chateau Nightclub and Gardens. Click here for the moolah-saving details.

But (and I’m risking sounding like a used car salesman here, but bear with me) that’s not all! Hubbard Street artistic director Glenn Edgerton will teach a professional-level master class from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 27 at NBT’s Summerlin studios. $75 nets the master class and a ticket to “Dance Dance Dance!” on Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. or Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. Walk-up registration is available the day of the class for $50, but space is limited. To save a spot, call 702-243-2623 to register.

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