Nevada Ballet Theater

Ballet & Broadway
Carousel (A Dance) • Tarantella • World Premiere • Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

With Full Orchestra
Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30pm
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2:00pm
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Reynolds Hall

Presenting Sponsor: Nancy Houssels
Live Music Sponsor: Sandee & Tito Tiberti

Carousel (A Dance)
Based upon the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel
Music by Richard Rodgers
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon

Music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk (orch. Kay)
Choreography by George Balanchine

World Premiere
Music by Michael Torke
Choreography by Matthew Neenan

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
From the Rodgers & Hart musical comedy On Your Toes
Music by Richard Rodgers
Choreography by George Balanchine

About the Program

The Great White Way has always been synonymous with incredible dancing. NBT invites you to the final performances of our 2017-18 Season to enjoy two wonderful pieces from Broadway, a dynamic Balanchine pas de deux, and a World Premiere specially commissioned for NBT.

Christopher Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance)

"The ruling image is astonishingly evocative. As an ensemble circles the stage and picks up speed, a fearful young woman in yellow and a young man, hands in his pockets and red kerchief around his neck, are isolated from a merry-go-round and its merriment. Within the exuberance that spreads across the stage with centrifugal and hysterical force, they find each other in a poignant if uneasy love duet."
- Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times

In 2002 Christopher Wheeldon choreographed Carousel (A Dance) as part of New York City Ballet's gala for the Richard Rodgers Centennial. The romantic, breathtaking distillation of the 1945 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical became a sensation throughout the dance world, prompting New York Times critic Anna Kisselgoff to declare, "The paradox is that what is on view is so enriching that one hungers for more: too good to be enough."

Mr. Wheeldon quickly became one of the most sought after choreographers working in America and went on to win a Tony Award® for his choreography in An American in Paris.

George Balanchine's Tarantella

A headline from London's Royal Opera House website describes Tarantella to perfection: Balanchine's virtuoso pas de deux blends Italian folk dance with syncopated sass in this deliriously entertaining whirlwind of a ballet.

Dance Journalist Zoe Anderson writes the accompanying piece, shedding light on this entertaining microburst of a ballet by the legendary George Balanchine:

Tarantella is a character dance rather than a grand pas de deux. The costumes nod to Italian folk dress, particularly the man's red scarf and the woman's frilled headdress. The choreography avoids supported partnering and held positions. The dancers perform side by side, or alternate short bursts of solo dancing. For both, it's a dance packed with explosive steps and changes of direction, both demanding and mercurial.

'Tarantella is really about the body smiling — it's just one huge grin', wrote Edward Villella, who danced the premiere with Patricia McBride in 1964. George Balanchine's short, incredibly speedy duet is a virtuoso showcase that evokes the 'national dances' of 19th-century ballet, while showing off the sizzling technique of modern dancers.

This 'Italian village' comes very much via the United States. Just as Louis Moreau Gottschalk put his own spin on the music, Balanchine adds both virtuoso ballet steps and some almost Broadway sassiness. The ballerina has hip-swivelling moves, including a sideways shimmy and saucy deep plié s in second position.

Tarantella is poised between folk and national dances and the syncopated speed that Balanchine explored in America.

World Premiere by Matthew Neenan

"One of the most appealing and singular choreographic voices in ballet today."
- Alastair Macaulay, New York Times

Next on the program will be a World Premiere for Nevada Ballet Theatre by acclaimed choreographer Matthew Neenan with music by renowned American Composer Michael Torke. Currently the Choreographer in Residence at Pennsylvania Ballet, local audiences may remember the Las Vegas premiere of Neenan's contemporary ballet, At the border, performed by NBT in February 2011.

Neenan's choreography has been performed by ballet companies across the country including New York City Ballet, Colorado Ballet and The Washington Ballet among others.

George Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

"The surprise hit of the evening was Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, a veritable circus of non-stop action, spoof and romp."
- Hal de Becker, Callback News

Closing the program will be the return of NBT's critically acclaimed performance of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, choreographed by the legendary George Balanchine. This boisterous tale of jealously, forbidden love and the mob wowed audiences in 2015 and NBT is thrilled to share this crowd pleaser with Las Vegas once again.

Writing for the New York Times, Rebecca Milzoff underscores the important role Slaughter on Tenth Avenue played in dance history: "A stripper with a heart of gold falls in with the wrong guys and dies in the arms of her one true love. This story was familiar, but the setting certainly wasn't when George Balanchine's ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" had its premiere in the Rodgers and Hart musical "On Your Toes" in 1936. Balanchine would become famous for his revolutionary subversions of classical ballet, but at the time, the choreographer's decision to put a sexy jazz-age ballerina on a Broadway stage — without point shoes — was one of his most radical moves yet.

She goes on to share a conversation she had with Jack Viertel, Artistic Director for New York City Center's Encores! series:

"Until the Rodgers and Hammerstein shows came along that really took it seriously, dance was kind of a thrown-in feature... It was either Fred and Adele Astaire doing their specialty act from vaudeville right in the middle of a show for no particular reason or a chorus of parading American beauties. It wasn't really an integral part of most of these early shows."

"On Your Toes," which opened at the Imperial Theater (revivals followed in 1954 and 1983), "was the first Broadway musical to really use a big, discrete ballet as part of its arsenal of entertainment," Mr. Viertel said, adding Rodgers and Hart believed that "dance could play a fundamental role in musical theater."

In the end, New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay sums it up best when he declares: "Balanchine's Slaughter — a show within a show, with several deaths within a joke — strikes me as more fabulous on every viewing."

Prior to both performances, NBT will present Insights, an educational pre-performance discussion offering patrons an opportunity to further engage with the ballet, with special guests, multi-media presentations and more. Insights is free to all ticket holders and will take place in the Troesh Studio Theater, adjacent to Reynolds Hall, 45 minutes prior to curtain at 6:45pm on Saturday and 1:15pm on Sunday. Insights is sponsored by C.A. Hartnell.

Have a group of 10 or more? Contact NBT Group Sales at (702) 243-2623 for information on priority seating, special discounts and exclusive experiences.

As a courtesy to our ticket holders, no children under 5 years of age are admitted to the performances.

Carousel (A Dance) photos by Angela Sterling courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue choreography by George Balanchine, ©The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Virginia Trudeau.
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