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Arts & Culture » Dance

Ballet22 premieres with online concerts

by Jim Provenzano

Ballet22's new online premiere
Ballet22's new online premiere  

In a blend of classical ballet, pointe work and contemporary styles, the new Oakland-based company Ballet22 will premiere new dances recorded at SF's ODC Theater, some with a modern holiday edge.

The program, titled 'Breaking Ground,' premieres December 11, will include a modern take on the Sugar Plum Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker; Juntos, a neo-classical work by Cincinnati Ballet Soloist Joshua Stayton; and a world premiere by Artistic Director of Boca Tuya, Omar Román de Jesús.

"We were able to produce our first digital performance by flying in dancers and choreographers from around the country to safely quarantine together for the rehearsal and filming process," said Executive Director Thereasa Knudson.

The roster of performers includes: Evan Ambrose (formerly Alabama Ballet), Gilbert Bolden III (New York City Ballet), Ashton Edwards (Pacific Northwest Ballet Professional Division), Duane Gosa (Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo), Christopher Kaiser (Oregon Ballet Theatre), Donghoon Lee (Diablo Ballet, formerly Korea National Ballet), and Roberto Vega Ortiz (Diablo Ballet, formerly Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo).

Added Knudson, "We were also able to collaborate with the talented San Francisco-based film team from Concept o4: Natasha Adorlee, Max Sachar, and Rob Suguitan to capture the performance for the digital show."

Performers all wear black face masks, giving the dances a somber tone. Yet, the dancing remains vibrant and vivid, with strong lines and daring innovation.

Founded in 2020 by Roberto Vega Ortiz and Knudson, Ballet22 hopes to push the boundaries of what's possible in ballet while focusing on producing and presenting works —from classical to contemporary ballet— that break gender normative traditions, specifically by presenting male and non-binary artists "en pointe." The company is guided by values of inclusivity of body type, gender identity, and race, bringing new opportunities to dancers of all kinds.

Concerts will stream Dec. 11-13 and 18-20 at 5pm & 8pm. Tickets range from $20-$250.

www.ballet22.com


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