Project Ballet Coffee Hour, Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff and more: A preview of the season’s dance
For many, fall serves notice that it’s time to head back to school. But for area dancers, it means it’s time to go back to work. While most dancers savor the summer months and the opportunity to rest tired muscles and heal nagging injuries, come September, the barre once again beckons.
Festival Ballet Providence (FBP), the capital city’s resident professional ballet company, opens their season on October 3 with “Together We Dance.” Now in its third incarnation, this remarkable one-night-only evening of dance features guest artists from some of the world’s leading ballet companies, FBP company dancers, and students from their official ballet school and their acclaimed Adaptive Dance Program.
While the guest artists and FBP’s dancers have wowed audiences, the students from the Adaptive Dance Program are truly inspirational, capturing the hearts and hearty applause of all in attendance. Modeled after Boston Ballet’s groundbreaking program, its primary goal is to foster a love of dance and creative expression in children with Down Syndrome. If you can only see one performance this year, don’t miss this gala “where the ballet world comes together in Providence.”
FBP continues with its critically acclaimed “Up Close On Hope” dance series on consecutive weekends starting October 25 and going through November 9. Presented in the intimate Black Box Theater located in the company’s Hope Street studio, this program includes RI and world premieres from company dancers and both local and internationally recognized choreographers. These performances often sell out, so get your tickets early.
Two weeks before Thanksgiving, FBP presents another installment of chatterBOXtheater with two performances of “Miss McFuzz + More McFun” on November 10. This program, geared toward the company’s youngest fans, has quickly become a favorite, complete with milk and cookies and a chance to meet the dancers after each performance.
And, what would December in Providence be without “The Nutcracker”? From December 20 through 22, dancing mice and Archie the Nutcracker dog invade PPAC. Experience the magic of this timeless classic with stunning choreography, colorful costumes and sparkling Swarovski crystal snowflakes. With a cast of more than 100 dancers, many of them children from local dance schools, this festive performance will surely get you in the Christmas spirit.
For more information about FBP, visit: festivalballet.com.
Newport’s Island Moving Company (IMC), they do not take summers off, commence their fall/winter season with “Open for Dancing” from September 18 through 22. This unique event allows members of the community to perform with IMC dancers at various locations throughout Newport in original works created by three NY choreographers.
Then, from November 29 through December 6, IMC presents its annual holiday production of “Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff.” Set in the majestic Rosecliff mansion, this original ballet moves audience members throughout the mansion culminating in a trip to The Land of the Sweets in the grand ballroom. This ballet, featuring local celebrities and politicians in a variety of walk-on roles, sells out every year; reserve your spots early (some of the production does require standing and walking).
For more information about IMC, visit: islandmovingco.org.
The state’s oldest ballet company, The State Ballet of Rhode Island (SBRI), now in its amazing 54th season, also has a busy fall/winter schedule. They continue with their popular “Project Ballet Coffee Hour” on October 19 and November 16. Join Artistic Director Herci Marsden as she explains how a ballet reaches the stage, from setting the choreography to training the dancers. This innovative “insider’s view” features lectures, music, visual performances and coffee with dessert.
In breaking from traditional holiday offerings, SBRI presents its annual production of “Coppelia” on December 20 through 21. Dating back to Ms. Marsden’s friendship with Boston Ballet (BB) founder and Artistic Director Virginia Williams, this ballet was chosen as a way of allowing both companies to present non-competing holiday shows, with BB performing “The Nutcracker.”
“Coppelia” tells the heartwarming story of Swanhilda, a girl who pretends to be a doll in order to win back the affection of her boyfriend Franz. Set to the energetic music of Leo Delibes, this fun and playful ballet nicely captures the gaiety of traditional European dance with a very lively and colorful Czardas and Mazurka.
For more information about SBRI, visit: stateballet.com.
For those who prefer something a bit more modern, Lincoln-based Fusionworks has a couple of options. On September 21, they present “Fusion Fest,” an afternoon of food, beer, wine, music and dance at Blount Seafood in Warren. Their annual Fall Concert Series follows on November 22 and 23 at Rhode Island College. A collection of original works, this series always features special guest performers and choreographers.
For more information about Fusionworks, visit: fusionworksdance.org.
Also, Heather Ahern, a very familiar name in the modern dance community, returns with RI’s newest modern dance company Aerplaye. Ms. Ahern was a founding member and co-artistic director of Grounwerx Dance Theatre of Providence. For nearly 15 years, they were a local staple and enjoyed a wonderful reputation when touring nationally. Aerplaye’s debut performance called, appropriately enough, “Return” premieres September 28 and 29 at the RISD Auditorium.
For more information about Aerplaye, visit: aerplaye.com.
Other noteworthy fall/winter performances:
Heritage Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” December 20 through 22. For more information, visit: heritageballet.com.
Providence Ballet Theatre’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” For more information visit: providenceballet.org.