Whether you like ballet that moves to the beat of its own drummer or are more the "Swan Lake" and "Nutcracker" type, the First State Ballet Theatre has something for you. Delaware's professional company will perform pieces both contemporary and classical at its Sunday, Feb. 20, show at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
When the First State Ballet Theatre brought “Carmen” to the Schwartz Center for the Arts last season, they found their fans weren’t as traditional as they expected. In fact, wherever the Wilmington-based group goes, Delawareans are thrilled by their contemporary works.
They kept that in mind and delved into some of their traditional favorites, too, for Classical & Contemporary Ballet Highlights at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at the Schwartz Center.
Robert Grenfell, board of directors president, said the show features 14 of their dancers performing some of their most varied repertoire pieces.
Specifically, audiences will experience excerpts from “Don Quixote” and “La Bayadere,” and three other classical pieces: “Ocean and Pearls,” “Flames of Paris,” and “Dying Swan.” A new contemporary piece choreographed by one of their dancers and Artistic Director Pasha Kambalov rounds out Act I.
Delaware sculptor Charles Parks’ works were the inspiration behind the contemporary work dominating the second act. “Everlasting Arms” is a full-length contemporary work choreographed by a friend of Kambalov’s, Viktor Plotnikov.
The work is choreographed as if 12 of Parks sculptures suddenly came to life. Grenfell said it’s a moving piece for the entire audience, most intensely so for Parks when he saw it debut two years ago.
“He and his wife were sitting in the front row with tears running down their faces,” Grenfell said.
Their muses aren’t the only ones finding something to cheer about when it comes to the company’s works. They were the hit of the Fringe Festival in Wilmington, a shocker for Grenfell.
“We were flabbergasted that they said, first of all, we want you in the Fringe Festival,” he said.
He thought they’d have to incorporate nudity, violence or some other graphic element to please. Not so. The festival’s cultural director said they were the most popular act.
“There’s an audience out there for ballet, whether it’s classical or contemporary, once people see it,” he said.
He was encouraged by the turnout for “Carmen” and hopes to continue developing an audience in Dover.
“It’s not a dance town, but nevertheless we want to let people know that if they come to this performance, they’re going to see something really athletic, really witty.”