Dance Season 2017-2018 Preview

Holiday-themed dance performances from nearly every Rhode Island company will open the season, ranging from traditional to contemporary work.

The Rhode Island College Dance Company (ric.edu/pas) will host the Bang Group, Friday (Dec 1) and Saturday (Dec 2) at Sapinsley Hall, in a collaboration called Nut/Cracked, “an ode to American eclecticism” they describe as “The Nutcracker, but definitely not as we know it. The Bang Group has taken every little girl’s favorite Christmas show and torn it limb from limb,” with a mix of “Tchaikovsky’s original score with music by Duke Ellington, Glen Miller and others.”

According to RIC dance professsor Angelica Cardente-Vessella, “David Parker [of the Bang Group] will be in residence at RI College for one week preceding the performance. He will audition the RIC dancers and choose a cast. They will rehearse for four days and perform in the show along with the Bang Group as part of Nut/Cracked. He and his associate Jeff Kazin will teach daily class to our entire dance population regardless of whether or not they are chosen for his cast. This is very much a full collaboration, and all our students have this fantastic opportunity to work with this celebrated artist.”

Providence Ballet Theatre (PBT) (providenceballet.com) will present a single performance of Twas the Night Before Christmas, Friday (Dec 5) at the Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in Roberts Hall at RIC. It is a new, original synthesis of “St. Nick, dancing sugar plums, prancing reindeer, the magic of snowflakes, moving sets, clever puppetry and colorful costumes with original choreography” by artistic director Eva Marie Pacheco, with the goal of being entertaining and accessible to all audiences, Pacheco said. This public performance will follow four sold-out “special school day performances for children,” she said.

PBT will premiere Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with choreography by Pacheco and music by Tony Lustig at three venues: at RIC in March, at the Bank of America Arts Showcase in March and at the East Greenwich Odeum in May.

Festival Ballet Providence (FBP) (festivalballetprovidence.org) begin their 40th season with The Nutcracker, an annual tradition, at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) with two evening shows Friday (Dec 15) and Saturday (Dec 16) and two matinée shows Saturday (Dec 16) and Sunday (Dec 17). The iconic work by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “is a highlight of the holiday season, for years delighting children and parents alike with the sweet tale of the little girl who dreams of sugar plum fairies and places far and wide,” said spokesman Ruth Davis.

The FBP Director’s Choice show, with evening performances Friday (Feb 9) and Saturday (Feb 10) and a matinée performance Sunday (Feb 11) at The Vets, will feature George Balanchine’s “Rubies,” the second of his three-movement Jewels on the 50th anniversary year of the ballet, along with The American choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to the music of Antonín Dvořák, and will close with a world premiere by FBP resident choreographer Viktor Plotnikov set to the music The Soldier’s Tale by Igor Stravinsky, a dark composition from the aftermath of the First World War about a soldier encountering the devil while returning home.

FBP will close its season with The Little Mermaid, Apr 27 – 29 at The Vets, based upon the Hans Christian Andersen folktale, choreographed by Mark Diamond with music from Alexander Borodin, Claude Debussy and Reinhold Glière.

The State Ballet of Rhode Island (stateballet.com) open their 58th season with Coppélia, their annual tradition, with an evening Friday (Dec 8) show and a matinée Saturday (Dec 9) show at the Park Theatre in Cranston. This is a classic 19th century comedic ballet described as “a whimsical and enchanting love story of a dancing doll.” The 1:30pm Saturday matinée will be preceded by a noon “Kids Tea Time” for children, requiring separate reservations and tickets, and will include “a cast meet and greet, tea time snacks, souvenirs, a backstage tour and photo opportunity.”

There will be an “educational performance” oriented toward children, youth and families at 10am Friday (Dec 8) at the Park Theatre that is “pay what you can” with a suggested donation of $10. This program will be “a special dress rehearsal performance explaining the music, the staging mechanics, the physical training of the dancers and the facts about the ballet.”

In the spring, the State Ballet will present Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Friday (Mar 23) evening and Saturday (Mar 24) matinée at the Park Theatre, with an educational “pay as you can” dress rehearsal at 10am Friday (Mar 23) and a separately ticketed “Mad Hatter Tea Party” for children at noon before the Saturday matinée.

Island Moving Company (islandmovingco.org) present their 16th Newport Nutcracker at the Rosecliff mansion with performances twice daily on Tuesday (Nov 28), Wednesday (Nov 29), Thursday (Nov 30), Friday (Nov 24, Dec 1) at 4pm and 7:30pm; Saturday (Nov 25) at 2pm and 7pm; and Sunday (Nov 26) at 2pm and 6pm. At press time, many shows are listed as sold-out, but others remain available.

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