Ballet at the Broad

Santa Monica College's new Broad Stage welcomed last weekend the Los Angeles Ballet to introduce a series titled, Directors Choice, which featured two of Los Angeles Ballet premieres: George Balanchine's Violin Concerto with a score by Igor Stravinsky, and
Balanchine's Prodigal Son, with music
by Sergei Prokofiev.

Ballet Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleean Neary are proud to introduce the company's third season that will include 15 shows across Southern California. The Broad Stage weekend performance also featured "An American Camelot", a new contemporary choreography by Jennnifer Backhaus, which combined the elegance of classic ballerina moves with a sassy jazzy attitude kind of rhythm.

Co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleean Neary launched the LAB in the year of 2006 with the extraordinary ambition in mind to bring world class dance and great dancers to every corner of Southern California.

The Los Angeles community for the past decades or even centuries has been the only major city in the world without a ballet company to call its own. The LAB has now given our community the opportunity to shed its distinction of not having a professional ballet company. It has truly given way to a new generation of ballet dancers to not only carry yesterday's legacies but also to perhaps come up with a new brand of ballet.

Starting a ballet company is no easy task. One must have the ambition, determination, technique and the so called connections which come with having danced and for at least a decade among some of the top ballet companies in the world such as, The New York City Ballet, Zurich Ballet and the Vienna
State Opera. L.A. co-artistic directors
Christensen and Neary are living legends of George Balanchine's art, form and style.

George Balanchine was American Russian ballet contemporary that in the year of 1934 Balanchine opened The School of American Ballet, a school that was less than three months old since he had arrived in the United
States. Balanchine's ambition was to train young dancers and establish a new brand for ballet and its native American dancers, that which will later become the American Ballet.

It is truly an honor to have co-arsitic
directors Christensen and Neary represent our city's ballet. Both coartistic directors have danced with the New York City Ballet under Balanchine's direction and choreography. It is now their spiritual duty to recreate with the help of The George Balanchine Trust, the choreographies that have founded what today we call the American ballet.

Saturday and Sunday, the performance opened with the celebrated biblical story of the Prodigal Son. Eddy Tovar, known as a powerful ballet dancer with a strong Cuban technique, portrayed the rebellious son who repents having spent his father's fortune and in the end is forgiven as a fatherly forgiveness always conquers a child's foolish
dreams and mistakes. The curtains came back up welcoming the audience to a sassy combination of classical ballet and contemporary dance in the new world premiere choreography "An American Camelot" by Jennifer Backhaus.

As the dancers swayed across the stage the audience could dance in their sits and feel the choreography's message which expressed freedom of creativity through dance, but with a mixture of happiness. The music of
Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Ertha Kit and Dean Martin gifted "An American Camelot" with a 60's classic style which matched marvelously the ballerina's pointe work.

The LAB's ballet debut at The Broad Stage ended with George Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto, accompanied with a music score by composer Stravinsky which a was a very dear friend of Balanchine. As the graceful ballerina Corina Gill portrayed ballet's beautiful technique through exactity and grace the audience could sense in the air and through Stravinsky's music the spirit of Balanchine and the gift which he left for us to enjoy, decades ago: the American classical ballet.