The Sarasota Ballet ushers in the Holiday Season with Victorian Winters featuring three of the most requested and beloved ballets from the Company’s repertoire—Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs and Enigma Variations, and George Balanchine’s Diamonds. For these performances, The Sarasota Ballet will be joined by Guest Artist Marcelo Gomes who will be performing the Principal role in Diamonds on Saturday evening. The Sarasota Orchestra will also accompany these performances under the baton of Guest Conductor Jonathan McPhee, former Music Director of Boston Ballet and current Music Director of the Lexington Symphony. The program honors the 30th Anniversary of the passing of Sir Frederick Ashton (August 18, 1988) and the 35th Anniversary of the passing of George Balanchine (April 30, 1983).

Victorian Winters is a truly astonishing program,” explains Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “Opening with Les Patineurs, the audience is transported to a Victorian era skating party on a frozen pond. With its exquisite choreography, sets, costumes, and music, you can feel the cold winter air surround you here in sunny Florida! Enigma Variations continues the audience’s journey as we move to composer Sir Edward Elgar’s Victorian Era country home, where his friends and family come to life under Elgar’s moving and renowned score. Finally Balanchine’s regal and resplendent Diamonds brings the audience to the Imperial Theater in Russia. With its extraordinary beauty and grandeur, as well as its pure and unrivaled classicism, it is the perfect end to this most perfect of Holiday Season celebrations.”

Victorian Winters opens with the return of a beloved Sarasota Ballet classic, Les Patineurs, depicting a Victorian skating party that takes place on a frozen pond during a winter’s eve. The Sarasota Ballet’s performances of Les Patineurs have garnered the Company great acclaim from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., where Sarah Kaufman hailed The Sarasota Ballet as “…the jewel of this year’s Ballet Across America sampler,” to New York City Center’s 2015 Fall For Dance Festival, to the Company’s home performances in Sarasota.

Continuing the program is another treasured Ashton work, Enigma Variations—which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. This extraordinary work brings to life the friends and family of Edward Elgar, who likewise formed the inspirations and basis for his seminal work of the same name. Ashton used Elgar’s original 1898 score and his 1929 commentary to present an imaginary gathering of Elgar and his friends at his Worcestershire home as he waits for a telegram from the celebrated conductor Hans Richter for news of his latest creation, Enigma Variations. An immediate success, famed critic John Percival wrote, “There have been plenty of ballets about love, but friendship as a subject is rare, and Ashton finds rare and moving expression for it … What a pleasure it is.”

Closing this exceptional program is the return, by popular demand, of Diamonds, the triumphant closing piece of George Balanchine’s remarkable abstract full-length ballet Jewels. With suitably diamantine costumes by Karinska, Diamonds is a glittering tribute to the 19th Century grandeur and regality of Imperial Russia and a nod to Balanchine’s own heritage. Louise Levene wrote that “Diamonds joins forces with Tchaikovsky in an exultant hymn of praise to the classical ballerina,” and these performances continue the Season of Tributes by marking the 35th anniversary of George Balanchine’s passing.

The Sarasota Ballet’s performances of Victorian Winters are sponsored by WUSF and WSMR. Live music for Victorian Winters is sponsored by BMO Private Bank.

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information

December 14-15, 2018
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Friday, December 14, 2018 at 7:30pm

Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 2:00pm

Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 7:30pm

Les Patineurs
                  Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
                  Music by Giacomo Meyerbeer

Enigma Variations
                  Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
                  Music by Sir Edward Elgar 

                  Choreography by George Balanchine
                  Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Individual tickets for Victorian Winters, starting at $30, are on sale now at or by calling 941.359.0099.

About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990, the mission of The Sarasota Ballet has been enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, as well as the integrity and artistry of its performances. The Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Ninette de Valois, Michel Fokine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. During Webb’s tenure, The Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and twice at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, as well as week-long residencies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York. In May 2017 The Sarasota Ballet performed at the inaugural National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City and in August of 2018 returned to the Joyce Theater for another sold out week-long residency.