Sacramento Ballet visits Mondavi with mixed program of ‘Solos, Duets, and Trios’

By From page A9 | April 30, 2013

A dancer performs in "Jazzin'" by Darrell Grand Moultrie, which will be part of "Solos, Duets and Trios" at the Mondavi Center. Courtesy photo

A dancer performs in "Jazzin'" by Darrell Grand Moultrie, which will be part of "Solos, Duets and Trios" at the Mondavi Center. Courtesy photo

The Sacramento Ballet ranks as one of that city’s greatest cultural treasures — but usually, Davis residents have to drive across the Yolo Causeway to see them.

Not this week. The Sacramento Ballet will perform for three nights — beginning Thurseday — in the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theater, with a program titled “Solos, Duets and Trios,” featuring several short pieces by the great 20th Century choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983), several other pieces by nationally prominent contemporary choreographers, and some new pieces by Sacramento Ballet company members.

Artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda of Sacramento Ballet have selected a mixed program, including several pieces drawn from larger works:

* “Tarantella,” Balanchine’s duet based on the passionate music of 19th Century composer pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk, a native of New Orleans whose music created a sensation among European audiences, who were amused at the thought of a concert pianist coming from the New World. The traditional Tarantella is a whirling dance associated with the jumpy rapid movements of a tarantula (or “wolf spider”). Balanchine created his choreography in 1964.

* “Second Before the Ground,” a duet drawn from a larger work created by choreographer Trey McIntyre in 1996 for the Houston Ballet, using music composed by Foday Musa Suso, recorded by the Kronos Quartet.

* Excerpts from “Wunderland,” choreographed by Edwaard Liang (a former company member of the New York City Ballet who also danced in the Broadway show “Fosse”) in 2009. Liang was born in Taiwan and grew up in Marin County, his work is now performed around the world. Liang drew on music for a string quartet by Philip Glass for this piece.

* “Wild Sweet Love,” choreographed by Trey McIntyre in 2007 for the Sacramento Ballet. The piece draws on the unlikely musical combination of the perky tune “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family (a well-scrubbed pop group that was created for a TV sitcom), and the (perhaps deceptively) cheerful “Perfect Day” by the typically dark-and-moody singer/songwriter Lou Reed.

* Excerpts from “Jazzin’ ” choreographed by Darrel Grand Moultrie, which was created for the Sacramento Ballet in March 2012, drawing on music by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and Andy Razaf. Moultrie was born and raised in Harlem, and graduated from The Juilliard School.

* Several other short pieces choreographed by George Balanchine, including “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” (1960, using music from “Swan Lake”), an excerpt from “Who Cares? (1970, drawing on music by George Gershwin), and “La Sonnambula Pas de Deux” (1965, to music by Vittori Rieti).

* “Figures F + L” choreographed in May 2012 by the Sacramento Ballet’s Stefan Calka.

* “Scars Already Seen” choreographed by Nicole Haskins for the Sacramento Ballet in May 2012. Haskins was a company member with Sacramento Ballet for seven years, and is how with the Washington Ballet.

The dancers will be drawn from the nine women and eight men who are company members with the Sacramento Ballet.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 2-4, in the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Tickets are $38-$42 general, $19-$21 students, www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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