The Sarasota Ballet 2016-17 season features a number of exciting premieres around town, but it’s hard to top the summer performance that leads it off, when the company presents an all-Ashton program at the Joyce Theater in New York.
The company has drawn national praise for its devotion to and interpretations of the works of Sir Frederick Ashton, and the troupe’s debut at the Joyce will present the choreographer’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, set to music by Ravel, along with Ashton’s Façade, with music by William Walton. Those performance dates are Aug. 8-13 in case you happen to be heading up to New York.
Back here at home, the ballet season begins Oct. 28-30 at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts with Walsh, Tudor & Layton, a triple bill featuring a reprise of Dominic Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb (that’s artistic director Iain Webb); the Sarasota premiere of Antony Tudor’s Continuo; and Joe Layton’s The Grand Tour, set to the popular music of Noel Coward.
The season continues with more Tudor and Ashton, along with Balanchine’s Apollo, Nov. 18-20 at the Sarasota Opera House. Ashton will be represented by his abstract ballet Sinfonietta, and Tudor by his Gala Performance, where a terrifying trio of ballerinas descends on a hapless dance company.
Next up: the company premiere of Balanchine’s Jewels, danced to live music Dec. 16-17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The Sarasota Ballet has presented these works separately before, but this time all three parts—Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds--will be united in one evening.
Resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano’s eighth new work for Sarasota audiences is on the bill Jan. 27-30 at the FSU Center, along with an encore production of Will Tuckett’s highly acclaimed Changing Light, which premiered in February 2013. Then the ballet continues its new tradition of hosting dance companies from elsewhere with performances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Feb. 24-27, at the FSU Center. During the Taylor company’s tour, there will also be opportunities for a master class and school outreach workshops.
It’s back to Sir Frederick with A Tribute to Ashton, performed to live music March 10 and 11 at the Van Wezel. The program will begin as the first American company to premiere the choreographer’s geometrically designed Scenes de Ballet, along with his classic The Two Pigeons, a favorite for Sarasota Ballet audiences.
The season closes with a mixed repertory program April 28-30 at the Sarasota Opera House. Live music will accompany the North American premiere of Ashton’s Apparitions, along with Dame Ninette de Valois’ period piece, Checkmate, and the Sarasota premiere of Jerome Robbins’ first ballet, Fancy Free (a piece about three sailors on leave that later morphed into the popular musical comedy On the Town).
Season subscription packages are on sale to the public May 18 at sarasotaballet.org or the box office, 359-0099. Single tickets will be available beginning in August.