Wednesday, September 16, 2009

George Balanchine’s iconic ballet, Prodigal Son, opens next week for its only Grand Rapids appearance!

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company brings George Balanchine’s powerful ballet Prodigal Son to the stage for its only Grand Rapids appearance. The performances will be held at the intimate Peter Martin Wege Theater. George Balanchine was one of the 20th century’s foremost choreographers; a pioneer of ballet in the United States and co-founder and Ballet Master of the New York City Ballet. Inspired by the parable in the Gospel of Luke, Prodigal Son debuted May 21, 1929 and the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris and featured a score by Sergei Prokofiev. This provocative re-telling is more dramatic and emphasizes the theme of sin and redemption ending with the Prodigal Son’s return. This legendary work has been performed by such ballet luminaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Damian Woetzel.

To earn the rights to perform this prestigious ballet the George Balanchine Trust must deem a ballet company technically and professionally qualified to present Balanchine’s work. A repetiteur designated by the trust then visits to personally help stage the production. “It’s quite an involved process and as Michigan’s only professional ballet company, we are proud to bring Michigan this masterpiece.” Gordon Peirce Schmidt, Artistic Director.

Paul Boos is the repetiteur who staged the ballet for the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Mr. Boos danced with Balanchine’s New York City Ballet for 13 years and has also staged Balanchine’s ballets throughout the world, most notably staging Prodigal Son for the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg and recently for the K-ballet in Japan. About the Grand Rapids Ballet Company Paul says, “Attila’s sensitive and pure acting skills were a daily revelation in rehearsals as the Son and Kateryna’s cool serpentine quality is perfectly suited to the Siren.”

Also on the program are two original creations, the joyous Holberg Suite and the passionate Vers La Flamme. These works, created for the Grand Rapids Ballet by Gordon Peirce Schmidt, celebrate the beauty of life and perfectly compliment the themes of the Prodigal Son. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to see this amazing program in the intimate Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

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