Leap Into Spring with Ballet

With many anxiously awaiting the spring thaw, area ballet companies are gearing up for the home stretch before closing their curtains for a well-deserved summer break.

Leading the way, following a critically acclaimed and groundbreaking world premiere of Romeo and Juliet that combined dance with the spoken word, is Festival Ballet Providence. They get things started Friday, March 24 with their final installment of Up Close On Hope. Past offerings have featured 10 to 12 short, unrelated pieces — many company and world premieres – but this program will showcase only Viktor Plotnikov’s full-length production of Carmen.

Plotnikov first set this ballet for FBP in 2003. As a relatively unknown choreographer, it served as a launching point for the former dancer who would go on to receive global praise and recognition for his engaging and quirky style. Though he now works with dance companies from all around the country, he continues to create original works for the dancers at FBP, serving as the company’s resident choreographer.


Artistic director Mihailo Djuric is thrilled to re-introduce Plotnikov’s Providence debut. He recalls how “Viktor came out of the gate with a bold and unique choreographic style that our audience immediately embraced. Transposing [Carmen] to the Black Box will give everyone a new and profound appreciation for his work.” This bold adaptation of the Bizet opera will feature plenty of seduction and passion with a surprising twist; brace yourself for something very different!

FBP will also close out their popular children’s dance series, chatterBOXtheatre, with newest company member Boyko Dossev’s The Little Prince. Based on the charming story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it is one of best-selling books ever published.

The timeless classic Cinderella will mark the end of FBP’s 2016/2017 season. Based on the choreography of company co-founder and longtime artistic director Winthrop Corey, Djuric promises that audiences will be swept away, adding “it is an honor to bring back a towering figure in Rhode Island dance to set his magnificent ballet on the company he helped create and led for many years.”

FBP’s final performances will also afford audiences one last opportunity to see prima ballerina Vilia Purtius, who announced that she will be retiring at the end of the season. She has been a fan favorite for the past 11 years. The spotlight will certainly grow dim in her absence.

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Across the bridge in Newport, Island Moving Company (IMC) is just getting ready to start the busy portion of their season. They are one of the few companies that perform year-round. Next up for them is Opening Weekend: A Collection of Attitudes 2017, a program covering two evenings of dance. It will debut a new work from Rodney Rivera, artistic director of Ballet Brio in Puerto Rico. IMC artistic director Miki Ohlsen will also stage her There’s a Party in My Mind and company oldie and original Psalms. Company members Spencer Gavin Hering and Shane Farrell, and former company member Danielle Genest, will also be presenting some new pieces.

In addition, IMC is excited to announce the return of Mother Goose at Rosecliff, a delightful recreation of the fairytale where children can pose for pictures with the characters/dancers and even get a chance to dance! The company will also once again host various dance companies from abroad for their popular Great Friends Dance Festival in July in Newport’s Great Friends Meeting House. This is a remarkable program that invites other companies to take up residency and perform alongside IMC in exchange for reciprocal performances on their home stage. Last year, the dancers experienced their first international exchange and traveled to Kazakhstan.

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Meanwhile, back on the mainland in Lincoln, The State Ballet of Rhode Island is busy preparing for their final performance, Phantomgreen Ballet Suite. Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Princess & the Pea, it debuted in 1990 featuring world premiere music from composer Margaret Buechner and original choreography from SBRI artistic director Herci Marsden.

This charming production has been enchanting young and old alike. It derives its name from the nightmarish images of the dancing green peas that prevent the sensitive Princess Leonora from sleeping, thus confirming her identity as a true princess.

This ballet will run in Cranston’s historic and beautifully restored Park Theatre from March 31 through April 1. In addition to Phantomgreen, audiences will be treated to several classical and contemporary pieces from various choreographers set to an eclectic blend of music.

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Providence Ballet Theatre is excited to announce Dance on Main St at The Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on March 18 and 19. This will be an evening of original works “that explore physicality, musicality and poetry in motion.” Junior company members will also perform alongside professional company members as they present a wide range of movements and techniques combining contemporary and modern dance.

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Woonsocket’s Heritage Ballet will close their season with the iconic classic Sleeping Beauty at the Stadium Theatre on April 1 and 2.

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