During the 2015-16 Season, Richmond Ballet:
· Introduced dance, movement, choreography and performance to nearly 2,000 students (63% of whom are from low-income families) through Minds In Motion. The program reached 19 schools in the Greater Richmond area (including Hopewell), all six Charlottesville City Schools, and a satellite program in Israel. In May, Richmond-based students took the stage at Carpenter Theatre for the year-end production, featuring performances from 1,300 students for a growing audience of over 5,500.
· Revived what is often considered Richmond Ballet’s signature work: Windows by Stoner Winslett. A four part ballet, each set to a piece of music written as variations on the same theme, Paganini’s 24th Caprice for Violin, the echoing musical motif is what connects these generations. Styles develop from the times in which people live and, for future generations, they provide a ‘window’ into the culture and values of previous generations. Winslett believes the ideas behind Windows are really the ideas behind the founding of Richmond Ballet. Windows remains one of the most patron-requested works in the Richmond Ballet repertory and wowed audiences once again in November.
· Presented a variety of works of enduring value over the course of the season. In particular, Salvatore Aiello’s deeply evocative and powerful rendering of the ballet, The Rite of Spring, took over the Studio Theatre stage in Studio Three in honor of dancer Lauren Fagone, who celebrated her last season as a professional dancer in 2015-16. Imbued with a humorous energy as well as a tremendous elegance, Ms. Fagone’s passion and respect for her art form was quite evident throughout the sold-out run of Studio Three and particularly in her final performance on April 17, 2016.
· Commissioned three fully realized ballets: Stolen Moments by Val Caniparoli, Realms of Amber by Edgar Zendejas, and City Life by Mark Annear.
· School of Richmond Ballet programming continues to expand with an enrollment now topping 900 students and more professional performance opportunities for exceptionally talented young dancers.
· Returned to Norfolk to present The Nutcracker for a third consecutive season and met ambitious attendance goals. The Nutcracker was performed to live accompaniment by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. As the State Ballet of Virginia, Richmond Ballet is committed to presenting exceptional ballet performances and education programs in communities across the Commonwealth. We have consistently seen growing success in audience attendance and student participation in the past years, yet this season’s engagement in Norfolk was by far the most successful. This year’s tour particularly reinforced the sense that Norfolk is a second home for Richmond Ballet.
Goals for the 2016 - 2017 Season:
· Minds In Motion will continue to impact the lives of 4th graders in the Greater Richmond, Charlottesville, and Israel, as this outstanding program continues to share the joy of movement and reach more students. New this year, Minds In Motion will bring its residency program to two schools in Portsmouth, VA.
· Richmond Ballet will continue to support the creation of new work by commissioning and presenting three new ballets as part of its Studio Series, featuring two celebrated female choreographers Melissa Barak and Katarzyna Skarpetowska, as well as Richmond Ballet Company Dancer Matthew Frain.
· For the fourth year in a row, Richmond Ballet will present Stoner Winslett’s full-length production of The Nutcracker in Norfolk, VA, accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, featuring local students from more than 20 different area dance schools, at Chrysler Hall, a premiere performing arts venue in the Hampton Roads area.
· For the first time since 2010, Richmond Ballet will return to New York for a multi-day engagement in May at The Joyce Theater in Chelsea, performing innovative repertory favorites such as Ma Cong's Lift the Fallen and Katarzyna Skarpetowska's Polaris.
Richmond Ballet’s most pressing needs include:
Richmond Ballet traces its origins back to the 1950s when the organization was a small civic troupe offering ballet training and performances to the local community. From this grew the Richmond Ballet Professional Company, founded in 1984 by Artistic Director Stoner Winslett. Under her leadership, the Ballet has flourished, enriching the cultural life of the Commonwealth of Virginia and earning national and international acclaim for its exemplary artistic standards, diverse repertoire and uniquely versatile company of professional dancers. While striving to fulfill its mission, the company has expanded its artistic footprint and made significant contributions to the field.
The Ballet’s mission is achieved through:
Performance – Whether performing in Richmond, New York City, London or Beijing, Richmond Ballet’s uniquely versatile company of 26 professional dancers has gained notice for its ability to exceptionally perform a broad range of works that feature diverse movement styles and aesthetics. Each year, the company presents six productions in Richmond and takes ballet performances and programs on tour across Virginia and outside the state, bringing audiences both near and far the best of contemporary ballet. The Ballet has also earned praise for its inviting, broad repertory, which includes more than 50 commissioned works. In 2012-13, the Richmond Ballet Professional Company followed its acclaimed 2012 London Tour with debut performances at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the nation’s capital. In May 2015, the company performed at the 'Meet in Beijing' Arts Festival as part of a four city tour through China.
Training – The vision for Richmond Ballet has always included training dancers, both student and professional, and educating the community. Each year, the School of Richmond Ballet (SRB) offers dance instruction from beginner to pre-professional levels for approximately 700 students of all ages, and its Summer Intensive Program attracts aspiring young dancers from all across the country. More than half of the Ballet’s current professional company of dancers received some or all of their training through the School of Richmond Ballet.
In May 2015, Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia, performed at the 15th Annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in Beijing, China at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The trip marked the Ballet’s first journey to Asia, and the organization’s second international tour,.
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