The forecast for Fri., April 10, is for lightning – balletic lightning, that is – to strike twice at the Strand Theatre: once in the morning and once in the evening.
That is the day when Boston Ballet returns to Uphams Corner for the sixth time with its highly anticipated annual sampler of ballet styles, this year inviting us all to “Rethink Ballet.” There’s a free 11 a.m. matinee for public school audiences followed by a more elaborate ticketed 7 p.m. evening show for which general admission is a nominal $5.
In the last five years, Boston Ballet's appearances at the Strand have entertained a combined audience of more than 7,000. The professional dancers from Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet II will perform, along with Boston Ballet School students and young adults enrolled in the Adaptive Dance program.
"We are excited to connect with the community through these performances, which we've given for six consecutive years," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. "The Strand engagement is a perfect opportunity for those new to dance or to Boston Ballet's versatile work to discover what we have to offer on the stage, in the studio, and in the community."
Among the 1,165 fourth and fifth graders from Boston public schools who will fill every seat in Strand, nearly 300 will be coming from Dot schools, including the Roger Clap, Mildred Ave., Holmes, Mattahunt, and Trotter. The morning program is explicitly educational, with short lively introductions by a variety of educators, administrators, and male and female dancers. This fast-paced show relates classical styles to the most contemporary ones.
Kids will enjoy two excerpts of Nissinen’s “Swan Lake” as well as the “Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” sequence from Marius Petipa’s “Sleeping Beauty.” And “La Leçon” (The Lesson) by Igor Burlak features students of Boston Ballet School: Set in a traditional ballet class, “La Leçon” begins with basic movements at the barre, and builds to exciting jumps and dazzling turns.
City Councilor Tito Jackson re-teams with choreographer Yo-el Cassell to lead “Get Up and Move,” where students will be asked to dance from their seats. Jackson will also introduce this year’s Cultural Dance (Czardas) and “Dance is for Everyone” with “Hip Hop to Classical” – company members will show different styles of dance, salsa, hip-hop etc. to demonstrate their versatility and familiarity with current musical tastes.
New this year, a pre-show event to be held at 5:30 p.m. allows patrons to meet Boston Ballet staff and participate in dance-related activities. Costumes will be on display for close viewing in the Strand gallery space. Visitors will be invited to explore an interactive "movement maze," learn more about the Ballet's international roster of dancers from nineteen nationalities, and express their own perspectives on the meaning of dance in their lives as part of an installation in the Strand lobby.
The evening repertoire will include company dancers performing excerpts from Nissinen's “Swan Lake,” including the thrilling “Black Swan Pas de Deux.” Boston Ballet School dancers will present “La Leçon,” emphasizing the differences in training levels, male and female roles, and pointe work. The program also includes exciting modern pieces as well as colorfully costumed folk dances.
Adaptive Dance students will present “Still Moment,” choreographed by faculty member Gino DiMarco, which combines improvisational movement and elements of a structured dance class. Adaptive Dance is designed to provide high quality, joyful, and engaging movement instruction for individuals with special needs in order to foster a love of dance and creative expression, and to promote physical and personal development.
This event is held in partnership between Boston Ballet, Dorchester's Strand Theatre, the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events, and the Boston Public Schools. A link for ticketing info and more information: bostonballet.org/strandtheatre.html.