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Sacramento Ballet’s Beer & Ballet series begins its 2016 run tonight at the Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College. The engagement, an intimate affair in a pitch black room, will run from Friday, February 19th through February 28th.

Beer & Ballet isn’t just an unconventional  opportunity to experience ballet while imbibing local brew from Ruhstaller, it is the premiere showcase for choreographic talents of dancers in the Sacramento Ballet company. Though I do my best to attend every performance by the Sacramento Ballet, Beer & Ballet is the project I most look forward to every year. I have the good fortune to have befriended many of the dancers in the company, so it is especially delightful to have a chance to see the interplay between colleagues and friends as they develop pieces for one another that speak to their views of each dancer’s unique artistry and athleticism. And many of the dancers develop pieces for Beer & Ballet year after year – giving us the opportunity to observe and applaud how each person’s talents grow and change.

This year’s Beer & Ballet should appeal to a wide variety of tastes. The choreographers make interesting musical choices: Danny Elfman, Dave Brubeck, Irving Berlin, and Hozier, to name a few. The pieces themselves feature a variety of dance styles, influenced by classical and modern ballet, and even a tap number, this year. Each piece reflects something of the choreographer and the life story that they bring to the work. In For Frankie and Suzie, Chris Nachtrab pays tribute to his parents’ 35 years of marriage by digging into the music from the 60s and 70s, offering the audience a view of love not often reflected in the music of current popular culture. I was especially moved by Kaori Higashiyama’s Koyo, a dance that reflects her love of the changing colors of the leaves of her native Japan. Lauryn Winterhalder – who is always light and strong and fast on her feet – sends her fellow artists into flight. Alex Biber, ever a man of the moment, offers a fun, direct interpretation of this past summer’s pop music that I found delightful. Julia Feldman’s Passages is a beautiful, dramatic, elegant ensemble set to music by Phillip Glass and Ravi Shankar. I heartily encourage everyone to check out Beer & Ballet for a refreshing, exciting perspective on the past, present, and future of modern ballet.

More info:

When: Feb 19, 2016 – Feb 28, 2016
Where: Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College | Ticket info here.

 

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