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Segerstrom Center for the Arts partners with American Ballet Theatre for new dance project

Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre have completed an exciting new artistic collaboration titled UNITING IN MOVEMENT, during which 18 dancers and the artistic staff of ABT developed and rehearsed three works that culminated in an exhilarating live performance in Segerstrom Hall and which can be streamed on demand from May 12 – 26 at the Center’s website, www.scfta.org.

Uniting in Movement is comprised of works of contemporary choreographers Lauren Lovette and Darrell Grand Moultrie, each with very personal and unique visions for the future of ballet. The program also pays homage to ABT’s classical heritage with a virtuosic showcase of ballet technique Grand Pas Classique choreographed by Victor Gsovsky and Swan Lake Act II pas de deux with choreography after Lev Ivanov.

In order to perform Uniting in Movement, ABT, America’s National Ballet Company®, was in residence at the Center beginning March 22, rehearsing this new program that received its world premiere before a live audience on Sunday, April 25 in Segerstrom Hall, followed by this streamed version. These performances are the first in Segerstrom Hall since the shutdown of all live theater in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just one week after the world premiere of ABT’s new production of Alexei Ratmansky’s Of Love and Rage.

The choreographers, dancers and ABT artistic staff lived and rehearsed in a quarantined ‘bubble,’ isolating themselves at the Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel across the street from the Center, venturing out only to rehearse in the Center studios and, ultimately perform in Segerstrom Hall. All rehearsal and performance activity adhered to strict medical and safety guidelines, with an initial quarantine and testing period prior to the start of ABT’s residency.

Wincome Hospitality CEO Paul Sanford said, “Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and Wincome Hospitality, is proud to work with Segerstrom Center for the Arts and be the host hotel for American Ballet Theatre. Their mission of wanting to preserve the classics of the past for modern audiences and foster innovation in the world of ballet should be lauded. We’re excited to help the Center bring ABT to Costa Mesa for Southern Californians to enjoy what will surely be very beautiful, emotionally moving, and entertaining performances.”

Ms. Lovette’s work, La Follia Variations, is set to music of the same name by Francesco Geminiani. With costumes by fashion designer Victor Glemaud, La Follia Variations brims with poetry, wit, nuance, and power. Mr. Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, set to music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Neal Hefti and Billy Strayhorn, is an expansion of his earlier work for the Company created in an East Coast bubble in fall 2020. Indestructible Light is a work for eight dancers and celebrates the resilience of artists despite impossible odds. The pas de deux from Swan Lake, Act II has replaced the previously announced Let Me Sing Forevermore by Jessica Lang.

“These creations reflect a time of recalibration on how we create and deliver new work, reinvent how to gather together to create, and what it means to use this art form to lift us all, artist and audience alike,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT Artistic Director. “Lauren’s use of classical vocabulary for dynamic effect of empowerment and Darrell’s facile use of classical technique fused with classic jazz are contrasted with two pas de deux. All of which exemplify the vibrant spirit of American Ballet Theatre.”

Segerstrom Center President Casey Reitz said, “As you can imagine, Uniting in Movement is a complex project requiring the combined, or uniting, resources and experience of both the Center and ABT, particularly during this period of quarantine. The project aligns with the mission of our Center for Dance and Innovation, which was established to support and advance the creative and sometimes even experimental process of developing new works by talented artists. The Center and ABT have a long history of producing extraordinary dance projects, including new productions, world premieres, and two projects that were broadcast on Great Performances: Dance in America. We are especially proud of how Uniting in Movement so beautifully confirms the resilience and indomitable spirit of the arts and artists.”

Uniting in Movement will be available on demand May 12 – 26. Tickets are $25 per household at www.SCFTA.org or by calling the box office at (714) 556-2787 weekdays between 10am and 2pm.

This article was released by the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.