Ballet Tucson, the premier dance company in Southern Arizona, announces its repertoire for the 2012 Opening Night Gala. The 2012 – 2013 season opens with a mixed bill of sensational works. The program is a collection of three diverse ballets selected by Founding Artistic Director Mary Beth Cabana to open the company’s 27th annual season.
Ballet Tucson lights up the stage with the return of Esmeralda and the Hunchback. This poignant story of Quasimodo the Hunchback and Esmeralda, the gypsy girl he loves, comes to life through the dynamic choreography of former Ballet Tucson Resident Choreographer Mark Schneider and the vibrancy of Ballet Tucson’s talented dancers.
Next on the program is the Ballet Tucson premiere of legendary choreographer Agnes de Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil. This comedic ballet tells the tale of three young virgins on their way to join a nunnery when they are confronted by a devil who uses each of their weaknesses to entice them into hell. Meticulously staged by Ballet Tucson’s Artistic Associates Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, this enduring, historic dance piece is as entertaining today as it was at its debut in 1934. Founding Artistic Director Mary Beth Cabana had the honor of dancing in this ballet in Cleveland Ballet’s production during the mid 1970s. Ms. Cabana was personally coached by Agnes De Mille for Three Virgins and a Devil as well as for the lead role in De Mille’s signature ballet Rodeo.
Lastly, Raymonda Variations is a masterful display of ballet classicism and Hungarian character dancing. The series of divertissements include bravura solo performances, a sensual pas de deux, and exciting ensemble choreography after Marius Petipa. Set to a lush score by Alexander Glazunov, this work provides the perfect background to spotlight the individual artistry and style of the company’s ranks.
About Three Virgins and a Devil
Music: Ottorino Respighi (Antiche dance ed arie)
Choreography: Agnes de Mille
Libretto: Ramon Reed, after a story of Boccaccio
World Premiere: Palace Theatre, London - 4/24/34
Set to Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances for the lute, Three Virgins and a Devil has been referred to as “a burlesque in the form of a medieval morality play.” The curtain rises on a medieval landscape, a monastery gate (shut) at the right, at the left a grotto leading to a cave. The three virgins enter. The Priggish One is endeavoring to drag her companions to church, persuade the Greedy One to donate her finery to the alms box, and firmly demands that the Lustful One, a child of nature, offer the wreath she is wearing. The three settle down to their devotions. A Youth enters. Intent on their prayers, the virgins will have nothing to do with him.
A beggar enters and asks the Greedy One for money. He is a strange person hiding one of his feet. The horrified virgins observe a cloven hoof and he throws aside his cloak revealing himself to be the Devil, horns, tail, cloven hoof and all. The Youth re-enters, entices the Lustful One to join him, and the two exit swiftly into the grotto, the gate to hell. The Devil tempts the Greedy One with a necklace and so leads her to hell and eternal damnation.
The Priggish One, however, is harder to tempt; on the other hand it is she who is terrorizing the Devil by attempting to drag him through the gate into the monastery by any means possible, including his tail. Offended by this indignity to his person, he begins to chase her like a man possessed; she fleeing in terror. The chase continues in ever-widening circles until the grotto entrance is reached whereupon the Devil stands aside, like the true gentleman that he is, and the Priggish One descends into hell on her own momentum.
Opening Night Gala/Season Opener
Friday, November 2 (Opening Night Gala) – gala at 6:30 pm, performance at 8:00 pm
Saturday, November 3 – 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 4 – 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Stevie Eller Dance Theatre
Gala includes pre-performance wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, silent auction, live musical entertainment and dessert reception.
VIP package includes all of the above + post-performance onstage reception, champagne toast, meet the company and guest artists, and gift bag.
Opening Night Gala (VIP Package) - $100 per person
Opening Night Gala - $75 per person
Other Performances - $30 per person
Other Performances (groups of 10 or more) - $22 per person
About Ballet Tucson
Embarking on its 27th season, Ballet Tucson is the premier dance company in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Each season, the professional company of dancers presents the highest quality dance productions with a full range of historic classics and contemporary works. In addition, an exceptional children’s company of more than 75 perform alongside Ballet Tucson’s professionals in full-length family-oriented productions such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
Ballet Tucson has been hailed as “a treasure in our community” by the Arizona Daily Star. Chuck Graham (Tucson arts writer) exclaims that the company “proudly maintains its place as the keeper of the flame of classical ballet in the Old Pueblo.”