Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) will close its 46th performance season and sixth year as Resident Ballet Company of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts with its Season Finale, Ballet & Broadway featuring Tony Award Winner Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance) and a World Premiere by Matthew Neenan; as well as George Balanchine’s Tarantella and the revival of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue from the musical comedy, On Your Toes (Pictured: Carousel (A Dance) – Photo by Angela Sterling Featuring the Company of Pacific Northwest Ballet).
“We are thrilled to present this varied selection of Ballets for our 2017-2018 Season Finale,” said Artistic Director, Roy Kaiser. “From the genius of George Balanchine to the masterful work of Christopher Wheeldon in Carousel (A Dance), one of the ballets I’m most excited to present is a special commission by choreographer Matthew Neenan. From his beginnings as a dancer to his growth as a choreographer, Matthew has received critical acclaim for his choreographic abilities. We are thrilled to bring this rising star back to Las Vegas for his awaited World Premiere.”
Christopher Wheeldon’s passionate salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical achievement, Carousel, is brought to life in this “charming distillation” of the beloved Broadway production. Carousel‘s carnival atmosphere and theme of broken romance is told through a robust corps de ballet who create the illusion of a sweeping carousel ride, where faint pieces of the story reveal themselves as part of an emotional pas de deux between the lead couple. While only subtly hinting at the story, the romance, drama and magic are felt through the musical’s beloved songs including “Carousel Waltz” and “If I Loved You.” Originally created for New York City Ballet’s Richard Rodgers Centennial in 2002, Carousel (A Dance) was a hit with critics from the beginning and has since been performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet and Joffrey Ballet among others.
One of the most sought-after choreographers today with a repertoire of work that has been presented around the globe, Wheeldon earned a 2015 Tony Award® for Best Choreography for An American in Paris.
George Balanchine’s Tarantella has been described as a “lively passionate Neapolitan folk dance” known for its virtuosic qualities: non-stop dancing, sprightly movements, blending of steps and quick changes in direction. Set to the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (Grand Tarentelle for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 67) and reconstructed and orchestrated by Hershy Kay, this exhilarating pas de deux combines classical ballet with brisk folk dancing and the rhythms of Italy. Premiering in 1964 with New York City Ballet stars Patricia McBride and Edward Villella, its unconventional partnering is brought to life with the accompaniment of a tambourine which both dancers perform with. NBT will reprise this ever popular ballet that premiered in Las Vegas in 2007.
Next on the program will be a World Premiere for Nevada Ballet Theatre by acclaimed choreographer Matthew Neenan with music by renowned American Composer Michael Torke. Currently the Choreographer in Residence at Pennsylvania Ballet, local audiences may remember the Las Vegas premiere of Neenan’s contemporary ballet, At the border, performed by NBT in February 2011.
Neenan’s choreography has been performed by ballet companies across the country including New York City Ballet, Colorado Ballet and The Washington Ballet among others. New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay has praised Neenan as “one of the most appealing and singular choreographic voices in ballet today.”
NBT’s Season Finale will close with the Las Vegas return of a ballet best known for its showbiz theatrics, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, choreographed by George Balanchine for the original Rodgers and Hart 1936 musical comedy, On Your Toes. A boisterous tale of jealousy, forbidden love and the mob, this jazzy and colorful ballet garnered critical acclaim when NBT first performed it in 2015.
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue tells the story of a jealous Russian premier danseur and his hoofing American adversary. Bridging together the worlds of Ballet and Broadway, it was the first full-scale ballet to be incorporated within a Broadway musical and the first to credit staged dances as “choreography,” at the request of Balanchine. In 1968, Balanchine mounted Slaughter on Tenth Avenue as a stand-alone ballet with New York City Ballet featuring Suzanne Farrell and Arthur Mitchell.
Insights with Artistic Director Roy Kaiser
Free to all ticket holders, NBT will once again present its popular pre-performance engagement, Insights, in the Troesh Studio Theater. Offering exciting educational discussion coinciding with the ballets being presented, commentary will be led by NBT Artistic Director Roy Kaiser. Insights will take place 45 minutes prior to curtain: 6:45 pm on Saturday, May 5; 1:15 pm on Sunday, May 6. Insights sponsored by C.A. Hartnell.
Education & Outreach
NBT’s successful Education and Outreach Initiative, Kids Night Out at the Ballet, will usher in over 30 Clark County students to The Smith Center, where they will attend opening night of Ballet & Broadway. Providing access to the art form of dance is part of NBT’s mission and through this important program, students are treated to a true ballet patron experience that they may not receive otherwise.
Two performances only: Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2 pm. Tickets from $29 (plus fees) may be purchased by calling The Smith Center Box Office at (702) 749-2000 or by visiting www.nevadaballet.org.