By: Hal de Becker



In a shift from its recent emphasis on contemporary dance styles to a focus on the middle word of its name Nevada Ballet Theatre is devoting two of its four new-season programs to the classics: Swan Lake Act II and The Sleeping Beauty Act III.


They will be performed together on the same program November 1st and 2nd 2013 at The Smith Center followed, of course, by The Nutcracker December 14th to 22nd.


Swan Lake’s Act II includes an exploration of love and trust in the exquisite and justly famed White Swan duet for the Prince and the Swan Queen. The Act also offers beautiful dances for the corps de ballet and a delightful quartet of cygnets (baby swans).

Swan Lake          Photo by Virginia Trudeau

Act III of The Sleeping Beauty depicts a royal wedding (supposedly influenced by descriptions of the court of France’s King Louis 14th) with divertissements or short dances portraying famous fairy tale characters. It reaches its peak with the regal Grand Pas de Deux in which the Prince and Princess dance together and in virtuoso solos.


NBT’s artistic director, James Canfield, announced the new season at The Smith Center’s Troesh Studio Theatre. The announcement came at the conclusion of The Studio Series, anannual performance of choreographies created and danced by members of the NBT company.


This ‘Studio Series’ was a delicious taste of what can be expected October 6th and 13th 2013 when artists from NBT and Cirque du Soleil join forces at Treasure Island for their popular and always exciting A Choreographers’ Showcase.


NBT’s Spring Finale May 9th and 10th 2014 at TSC’s Reynolds Hall includes a welcome return of Matthew Neenan’s At the Border. This dynamic work, set to music by John Adams, composer of the opera Nixon in China, received huge ovations two years ago when NBT first performed it.


The recent ‘Studio Series’ involved more than twenty NBT dancers some as choreographers, others as performers and a few as both. The eleven numbers were all entertaining with five being especially impressive and artistically mature.


The latter included Class Demonstration by Demetria Schioldager which was an aesthetic extension of the daily barre exercises engaged in by professional ballet dancers. As with a good variation on a musical theme, one could always detect the basic movement underlying the choreography’s embellishments.


The romantic Shades of Amber, Cobalt & Jade, choreographed by Braeden Barnes for six dancers was, perhaps, the most fully developed and repertoire-ready of all the works presented.


Reminiscent of the gifted choreographer Jiri Kylian, Mr. Braeden was able to provide numerous and imaginative dance moves to a single, frequently slow and suspended musical passage without the piece becoming cluttered or overly busy. Not easy to do.


Two duets, Divergence and Ballad of the Sad Young Men, created respectively by Alissa Dale and Krista Baker/Tess Bernard, had a depth of feeling that belied the youth of the choreographers.


Ms. Baker also contributed Suite 12 for a dozen dancers.Her skilled use of the ensemble’s patterns, interaction, entrances and exits -- things even more experienced choreographers sometimes fail to master – seemed to be intuitive for this young choreographer.


NBT’s new season offers many special packages and subscriber-benefits.More information and tickets are available at 702-749-2847.


Footnote: The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre is seeking a new director. The Academy is a 36,000 s.f. facility with 400 students -- children through adults. Applicants should possess national dance industry experience and be dedicated to providing students with the highest quality dance instruction and inspiration. Applications should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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