Nevada Ballet Theatre Presents an All-Balanchine Program with Las Vegas Philharmonic

Nevada Ballet Theatre is pleased to present an All-Balanchine Program, a full evening of works by George Balanchine, one of the 20th Century’s foremost choreographers. This spectacular program will be presented on Friday, February 6 at 8 pm and Saturday, February 7 at 2 pm at UNLV’s Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway. Ticket prices range from *$25 – $75, and can be ordered by calling (702) 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting

The company is proud to present two Las Vegas premieres: Serenade, (1934) set to Tchaikovsky’s stunning score of “Serenade for Strings,” is the first ballet Balanchine created in the United States. Concerto Barocco, (1941) set to Bach’s “Double Violin Concerto in D Minor,” is a work that reveals Balanchine’s genius for creating a physical image of music through dance. Both pieces will be accompanied by live music as the company welcomes musicians from the Las Vegas Philharmonic, conducted by Associate Conductor, Richard McGee. The Company closes with the brilliant Who Cares’, (1970) Balanchine’s tribute to Broadway, set to the music of beloved composer, George Gershwin.

“This program represents an historic moment in the cultural life of Las Vegas as we premiere two of Mr. Balanchine’s greatest creations to live music from the Philharmonic,” said Executive Director Beth Barbre. “It will challenge our dancers and inspire our audience to appreciate the highest potential of our art form.”

All three ballets have been staged by Balanchine Trust Repetiteur, Sandra Jennings. A former New York City Ballet dancer, Jennings performed Balanchine’s Tarantella at New York’s City Center at the young age of 15. At the request of George Balanchine, she joined New York City Ballet in 1974 and for the next nine years, danced principal and soloist roles in works by Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

Serenade is considered “a milestone in the history of dance.” A signature work of New York City Ballet, it has rarely been out of their repertoire. Without a narrative, it contains four movements: “Sonatina,” “Waltz,” “Russian Dance” and “Elegy.” This beautiful work originated from an evening ballet class where Balanchine taught his students the differences between class work and stage technique. Balanchine even incorporated spontaneous rehearsal “mishaps” into the work, such as a dancer falling or a student arriving late to class. Its first presentation was in 1934 by students at the School of American Ballet at an estate in White Plains, New York. Since then, it has been performed and admired worldwide.

Performed by dancers in blue costumes in front of a blue background, Serenade is an example of Balanchine’s affinity for Tchaikovsky. In an interview, he was once quoted as saying: “In everything that I did to Tchaikovsky’s music, I sensed his help”….”when I was working and saw that something was coming out of it, I felt that it was Tchaikovsky who had helped me.”

Premiering in 1941, Concerto Barocco is a classical, but abstract ballet in three movements. Ten dancers – three soloists and eight corps de ballet – are uniquely used to represent the rhythms and emotions of Bach’s magnificent score, showcasing the importance of music in Balanchine’s creative process. Balanchine said of this work: “If the dance designer sees in the development of classical dancing a counterpart in the development of music and has studied them both, he will derive continual inspiration from great scores.”

“Vivace,” the first movement, showcases two soloists who personify violins, surrounded by a corps of female dancers. In “Largo Ma Non Tanto,” the second movement, a soft, but strong pas de deux is danced between one of the lead female soloists from the first movement and her male partner. “Allegro,” the third and final movement, presents the entire ensemble of dancers performing perfectly to the rhythmic vitality of the music with swift, light jumps and sharp, clean arm movements.

What began as an exercise by Balanchine for students of the School of American Ballet, became one of his most enduring works. After entering the repertoire of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Balanchine updated the original costumes, dressing the dancers in practice clothes, now regarded as Balanchine’s “signature” costume for his contemporary works. In 1948, Concerto Barocco was one of three ballets that New York City Ballet presented for their first program.

Who Cares’, a ballet that consists of a series of dances set to the music of George Gershwin, premiered in 1970 at New York’s City Center. At the request of Balanchine, Gershwin began to collaborate with him in 1937 for Samuel Goldwyn’s “Follies,” but unfortunately, he passed away before the music for the film was completed.

Thirty-three years later, Balanchine choreographed Who Cares’ to 16 songs Gershwin composed between 1924 and 1931, including “Strike Up the Band,” “The Man I Love,” “Build a Stairway to Paradise,” “Embraceable You,” “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” “Who Cares’,” “My One and Only,” “Liza,” and “I Got Rhythm,” among others. The title of Who Cares’ came from an old song that George and Ira Gershwin wrote in 1931 for the musical, “Of Thee I Sing.”

With orchestration by Hershy Kay, Balanchine used Gershwin’s songs to blend classical ballet with “show” dancing, giving the audience a ballet’s perspective of musical comedy dancing of the 1920’s. Who Cares’ is largely seen as Balanchine’s tribute to America, with its patriotic nuances and energetic and exuberant choreography. In addition, Balanchine’s love of Manhattan is also incorporated into this lively and popular work, with some pieces reminiscent of a stylish night on the town.

The performance of Serenade, Concerto Barocco and Who Cares’ are all Balanchine Ballets presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and have been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style and Balanchine Technique Service standards established and provided by the Trust. All choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Sandra Jennings.

Nevada Ballet Theatre is offering special $25 Balcony Seats for an All-Balanchine Program. Call the UNLV Box Office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787) for more information.

Mix and mingle with an exclusive VIP circle of patrons. In celebration of Nevada Ballet Theatre’s All-Balanchine Program, the company will host a special pre-performance dinner on Friday, February 6 at Envy – The Steakhouse at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $100 additional per person. For reservations, please call Jessica Erali at (702) 243-2623 ext. 222 or email

Single Tickets for American Masters and New Works ’09 are on sale and can ordered online at or by calling the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787). For more information on Nevada Ballet Theatre, its programs, or for 2008-2009 production-specific information, call Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Marketing department at (702) 243-2623 or email

Corporations and organizations are encouraged to bring their staff and employees to a performance of All-Balanchine Program as a unique gift or to sponsor underserved youth groups. Groups of 15 or more will enjoy fantastic savings and personal service. To book your group, contact Marketing Manager Julie Hord at (702) 243-2623 ext. 234 or email