Monday, March 22, 2010

First State Ballet stages 1st Full Length SWAN LAKE

Pasha Kambalov, co-founder with his wife Kristina and artistic director for 1st State Ballet, was being interviewed by a local arts reporter for the upcoming Swan Lake.

Reporter: “Who did the choreography”?

Pasha: “Well, I did a bit, but the majority was by Petipa.”

Reporter: “Will Mr. Petipa be coming?”

This interchange speaks to the dearth of knowledge by reporters of cultural arts in the state. Due to cutbacks high and low, untrained writers are sent out to cover issues light years from their ken.

If Marius Petipa was to attend Kambalov's passionate and exquisite production on March 26 and 27 at The Grand, it would be international news indeed. The iconic Russian choreographer, 'the father of classical ballet,' has been dead exactly 100 years!

Petipa, inspired in part by Tchaikovsky's music, created 50 enduring ballets which survive in whole today. They include “Sleeping Beauty,” “Giselle,” “Don Quixote" and the classic for the ages, “The Nutcracker.”

The ballets of Marius Petipa were lavish spectacles that could have only been produced in the opulent atmosphere of the Imperial Russian court of Tsar Alexander II, which was at the time the most resplendent in all Europe. The treasury of the Russian emperor — who was at that time the wealthiest person in the world — lavished millions on ballet. Each new theatrical season required that Petipa create a new grand ballet. His duties also called upon him to stage the dance sections for various operas, and to prepare galas and divertissements for court performances, royal nuptials, etc.

Pasha Kambalov himself trained at the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet, home of Petipa's works and Aisle Say considers is infused with the Petipa DNA.

Son Grant and I danced as chorusers in the early origins of 1st State Ballet, now celebrating its 10th year of operation – no easy feat in this economic environment. Grant accompanied me to last year's “The Nutcracker.” Throughout the performance there was a permanent smile on his face as he remembered being a part of the cast nine years prior.

Needing a pulse and a warm body to fill the stage during the ballroom scenes, Pasha and Robert Grenfell, the volunteer 'everyman' for the organization who has been with them through both drought and tsunami, asked me to fill a role. A few months ago I was measured for my costume. “Why so early?” I asked. Grenfell replied that they were being built in St. Petersburg.

At first rehearsal I was greatly impressed by the ten young professionals of the cast and interns. They are fully engaged, mesmerized and dedicated to their art. Whatever Pasha asks them to do, they attack with artistic zeal.

"Swan Lake" is one of the world's most popular ballets and this is Delaware's first full-length performance of the work. More than 40 dancers will appear on stage at The Grand.

1st State performs throughout the state. Regular venues include the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, Delaware Tech in Georgetown, the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Dover, the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, the Austrian-American Society's Blue Danube Gala in the Gold Ballroom of the Hotel DuPont and residencies in schools. They collaborate regularly with Opera Delaware, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Opera House.

They have a family-friendly ticket pricing policy with an unmatched 50 percent discount for students 18 and under and have not raised its ticket prices in five years.

Friday, Marcy 26 at 7:00 pm. and Saturday, March 27 at 2:00 pm.
$25.00 to $35.00 with a 50 percent discount for students 18 and under and $5.00 group and senior discounts. 1.800.37.GRAND

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