Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre's Alice in Wonderland


The spring gala season for the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre opens with the classic ballet Alice in Wonderland on March 21st and 22nd, 2009 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the magnificent score to this wonderful ballet. Re-staged and re-choreographed by Alexander Van Alstyne, Alice in Wonderland is the captivating story of Alice’s adventures through the looking glass. The White Rabbit, Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts have starring roles in this fantasy adventure. This classic story is filled with mesmerizing dance, intrigue, comedy and is fun for the entire family.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s Eve Allen will star as Alice. Kate Crews and Jason Linsley from Ballet West will also perform as the Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit. The large cast includes many talented dancers from numerous different ballet studios in the Reno area.

The Saturday March 21st performance will be held at 8pm and the Sunday March 22nd performance will be at 2pm. Ticket prices for adults are from $25 to $40. Ticket prices for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and older are from $15 to $35. For tickets call the Pioneer Center at 877-840-0457 or on-line at pioneercenter.com. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 11am to 6pm.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company of the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Jack Neal's Review of A.V.A. Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker

The time for dancing snowflakes and sugarplums has arrived. Just when the season to be jolly turns into the season to be Scrooge (“No! Not another “Nutcracker!”), the A.V.A Ballet Theatre and the Reno Philharmonic produce a “Nutcracker” to cherish. In a once-upon-a-time interview Dick Cavett asked an irascible Agnes DeMille, choreographer for the hit musical “Oklahoma,” why “Oklahoma” was a success? “Because it was good!” she replied with a sense of exasperation. “It was good!” “Because it is good” is what makes the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s “Nutcracker” a success. Choreographer Alexander Van Alstyne is the power and the muse behind his company’s presentation that just gets better each year. Co-director Miriam Allen is the power that helps make it all happen. Fine dancing from principals, lovely execution from a young and gifted corps de ballet, elegant costumes, beautifully decorated sets, translucent lighting, and a wonderfully groomed orchestra conducted by someone who stays glued to dancers, and – presto – audiences are blessed with a sumptuous production. Nevada Opera’s artistic director, Michael Borowitz, conducted the A.V.A.’s “Nutcracker” for the first time and his is the orchestral honing – a rich sound - and the theatrical timing that places this production another notch higher in the company’s march toward prominence. With the exception of the metallic sounding celeste (electronic Sugarplum music, no doubt) the A.V.A Ballet Orchestra, made up of members of the Reno Philharmonic, was in top shape. Live music places the production well above any of the other “Nutcrackers” in Northern Nevada this season. Imported principals are a nicely matched set. Tall, slender, long-legged, and physically appealing, they are the best collection of imports in memory a Reno “Nutcracker” has had. Far from the illusion of her icy surroundings, Mayo Sugano is a poised and elegant Snow Queen of warmth. Rory Hohenstein is a high-minded, noble Snow King and a cleverly charismatic Chinese soloist. Hohenstein is currently dancing with the new and prestigious Christopher Wheeldon company. Elegant, assured and with a dance-diva persona Alicia Fabry is a dazzling Sugar Plumb Fairy. Adam Schiffer is her cavalier and he’s stylish and heroic. Fabry and Schiffer have chemistry, which is a big assist in the potency of any Sugarplum Pas de Deux. In a return engagement as Herr Dosselmeyer, William Pizzuto’s casting as the kindly wizard of magic continues to be on the sunny side of near perfect. Seventeen-year-old Ryan Sargent is a handsome Nutcracker Prince, a fine upcoming dancer, and an especially appealing consort for lovely fourteen-year-old Eri Nishihara. Nashihara is an enchanting Clara and an elegant young dancer with considerable promise. The Act II vignettes are without exception stunningly brought off. Eve Allen, the cast’s multiple threat (a compliment) who appears in as many roles as quick costume changes allow, shines as the sultry and serene Arabian Coffee. Coming in second in the quick-change department, but holding her own nicely in the dance department is Maegan Price (Maid and Magical White Soldier). The virility of Russian dance is managed with daring athleticism by Michael Heredia and Bret Stancil. Mother Ginger (Kathleen Bolotin) and her eight darling Ginger Girls just have to bring joy to even the most joyless. The Merlitons and the Chinese bring impeccability and color to a holiday treat that never retreats. The lovely flowers that waltz and the luminous snowflakes that float gently through space are the ballet’s luminous moments for “Nutcracker’s” corps de ballet. Precise without being pedantic the A.V.A.’s corps de ballet is alive and very well, indeed. The multitudes of mice, soldiers, pages, party girls, family and friends that adorn “Nutcrackers” from coast to coast and from country to country are here in plentitude and are as cute and disciplined as they can be. But beyond cute and disciplined, it’s passion for the art of ballet that’s driving the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s transcendent version of Tchaikovsky’s immortal “The Nutcracker Ballet.” Much like Dorothy Gale clicking the heels of her ruby slippers and saying “There’s no place like home,” it’s terrific to have a version of “The Nutcracker” that thrills right here in our own backyard. The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and the Reno Philharmonic’s “The Nutcracker Ballet” can be seen at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada, December 12 (the performance reviewed) and 13 (2008) at 8 p.m. and December 14 at 2 p.m. For information call 775-686-6600.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker


Featuring the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra

The stage at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts will be alive with a sugar plum fairy and dancing mice as A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents its 14th annual Nutcracker Ballet on December 12, 13, 14, 2008. A.V.A. Ballet Theatre’s artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne has choreographed an exciting rendition of the popular holiday ballet and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s moving score.

Principal dancers from professional ballet companies such as the San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Miami City Ballet and the Diablo Ballet will perform the leading roles along side a large cast of local talent.

Nutcracker performances will be held Friday December 12th at 8pm, December 13th at 8pm and Sunday December 14th at 2pm at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Reno. Ticket prices for adults are from $26 to $51. Ticket prices for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and older are from $21 to $41.

A special Sugar Plum party will be held after the Sunday afternoon performance where children can meet the Nutcracker characters.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company of the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.

Mark your calendars now for this spectacular holiday tradition. For tickets call the Pioneer Center box office at 877-840-0457 or on-line at pioneercenter.com. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 11am to 6pm.

For more information call A.V.A. Ballet Theatre at 775-762-5165 or on-line at avaballet.com or call the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts at 775-686-6600.

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A.V.A. Ballet Theatre Auditions for Alice in Wonderland

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre will hold open auditions for its upcoming production of Alice in Wonderland, a classic favorite choreographed by artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne.

Auditions will be held Sunday, November 16, 2008 at the Conservatory of Movement 73 West Plumb Lane Reno, Nevada. Auditions will be held at the following times:

11:00 am 8 – 9 year olds (Boys and girls)
11:30 am 10-13 year olds (Boys and girls)
12:30 pm Corps de Ballet (Girls en Pointe)
1:30 pm Male Dancers and Character Roles

Rehearsals will begin mid-January 2009.

The Alice in Wonderland Ballet will be performed at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts March 21th and 22th, 2009 with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.

For more information please contact (775) 762-5165.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre Nutcracker Auditions


NUTCRACKER BALLET AUDITIONS

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre will hold open auditions for its upcoming production of the Nutcracker Ballet, a holiday favorite choreographed by artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne.

Auditions will be held Saturday, September 13, 2008 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts 100 South Virginia Street Reno, Nevada. Auditions will be held at the following times:

2:00 pm 8 – 9 year olds (Boys and girls)
2:45 pm 10-11 year olds (Boys and girls)
4:00 pm 12-14 years old (Boys and girls)
5:00 pm Corps de Ballet & Soloists (Girls en Pointe)
6:00 pm Parents and walk on roles

There will also be positions for gymnasts 14 years and up.

Please be prepared for a call-back on Sunday September 14th.

The Nutcracker Ballet will be performed at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts December 12 to 14, 2008 with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.

For more information please contact (775) 762-5165.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre Presents The Rock Ballet Vortex


The Hawkin’s Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch will come alive with ballet grace and passionate rock, dance, Broadway and alternative music as A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents the rock ballet Vortex July 11th and 12th as part of the Artown celebration.

Artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne has choreographed an exciting contemporary ballet that will be like no other you have ever seen. Imagine ballerinas performing grande jet├ęs to music by popular rock artists. The stage will feature scaffolding and exciting props and sets that will create a visual spectacle that can not be missed.

Featuring a cast of extremely talented performers from Reno and starring guest artists from Ballet West, the rock ballet Vortex will feature demanding and passionate movement inspired by the dynamic of the music.

The performances of Vortex are at 8:30pm July 11th and 12th at the beautiful Bartley Ranch Hawkins Amphitheater. Ticket prices are $15 for adults. Students with I.D. only $10. This is a PG 13 show. Special VIP tickets that include wine and hors d’oevres are available for $40. The gates open at 7:30pm for picnicking and the VIP party. Tickets can be purchased online at avaballet.com, by calling 775-762-5165 or at the Bartley Ranch box office the nights of the shows.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.

Mark you calendars now for this spectacular production. For more information call A.V.A. Ballet Theatre at 775-762-5165.





Monday, March 31, 2008

Jack Neal's Review of A.V.A. Ballet Theatre's Cinderella

Mar 30, 2008 - The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and the Reno Philharmonic's lovely "Cinderella" /
By Jack Neal

In fairytales, beauty overcomes ugliness every time. Thus the winning story of “Cinderella,” enchants every time. So it was this past weekend (3/29 & 30/2008) in Reno, when the A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and the Reno Philharmonic collaborated on a “Cinderella” that overcame the odds in a gambling town and won. Bless ballet companies in the provinces and the “stay hungry” dance promoters and choreographers who do what they do for the sheer love of dance. The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, its founder and choreographer Alexander Van Alstyne and co-director Miriam Allen, fit into that reverential category. By the gifts of will power and talent, Van Alstyne and Allen crafted a lovely “Cinderella” that looked as sumptuous as Prokofiev’s exquisite score sounded. So what if the principal dancers were borrowed (hired) from Salt Lake City’s Ballet West? With few exceptions, major league ball players never play in their hometowns either. Lots of fine dancers in “Cinderella” are from Reno, including many featured dancers and a corps de ballet that should be the envy of some of America’s leading dance companies. Van Alstyne’s re-telling of the “Cinderella” story was traditional and never dabbled into the Freudian issues of what happened to Cinderella’s mother or why her wimp of a father married a mean-spirited woman with two frumpy daughters? Nor does it pull off a CSI as to why dad stands by while three old bags mistreat his lovely girl. No calls to social services for this production. With the aid (considerable, as it turns out) of the Fairy Godmother Cinderella befriends, when her Fairy Godmother to be appears to be anything but with-it and magical, Cinderella is left to her own devices. Kate Crews is a Cinderella of any prince’s dreams. It’s a gorgeous role for a ballerina and Crews makes the most of it. Lovely scenes as the drab waif in the kitchen with sensitive acting and a sense of humor contrasted with radiant scenes at the ball give a young dancer a wonderful palette of nuances from which to work. Crews pulls off the part with elegance and sensitivity. And - she can dance as well as act. The eligible men in Cinderella’s life, the Prince and the Jester, were young and dashing. The rapport between Crews’s Cinderella and her Prince and husband-to-be, as danced by Aaron Orlowski, was impressive. A chemistry ignited that made their moments of enraptured dance believable and magnetic – just what any “Cinderella” production needs. Impressive, too, both have a technical bravura that dazzles. Steven Davis was the Jester so winningly attractive (he also dances well) he was forced to fight off the amorous flirtations of Cinderella’s less than attractive stepsisters. As Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Josey Silva is a shining presence and elegant dancer. The underlying sense of nature’s order as portrayed by the Spring Fairy (Maegen Price-Lundstrom), Summer Fairy (Danielle Pearson), Fall Fairy (Nicole Shutt), and Winter Fairy (Eve Allen) was well served with expressive, skilled performances by each dancer. Colton Harrah deserves recognition for his assured take on the frustrations of instructing the stepsisters, each having two left feet, in the art of dance. It’s tradition to have men in drag play (dance, if that’s what it’s called) the stepsisters. Exaggeration does not make the heart grow fonder. It’s time to add a touch of pathos to these maligned ladies everyone loves to hate and make them an integral part of the “Cinderella” saga, rather than tiresome sideshow caricatures. Carol Burnett knows how to give depth to comedy, making it even funnier. It’s time to scrap these old biddies for something more entertaining than high-school slapstick. To be fair to Bruce Lindstrom and William Pizzuto who were cast as the ugly stepsisters, the opening-night audience loved them. For my money, for great casting, a great stepsister and fabulous box office, bring on Ms. Burnett. Prokofiev’s superb score was given a superlative interpretation by members of the Reno Philharmonic and conductor Barry Jekowsky. Live music and live dance are natural co-conspirators for exceptional ballet. No real performance of dance is complete without live music. Bravo for paying for the best. Bravo also for the attractive scenic designs executed by Soggy Dog, Periann Scott’s radiant lighting, and the elegant Van Alstyne costumes executed splendidly by Stephanie LeGoy. What a handsome, beautifully danced and paced presentation. The A.V.A. Ballet Theatre and the Reno Philharmonic’s “Cinderella” was presented at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada, Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 8 p.m. (the performance reviewed), and Sunday, March 30 (2008) at 2 p.m. For future A.V.A. Ballet Theatre events call 775-762-5165. For future Reno Philharmonic events call 775-323-6393.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre's Rock Ballet Auditions

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre will hold open auditions for its upcoming production of Vortex a contemporary rock ballet choreographed by artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne. Principal, Soloist and Corps de Ballet roles will be cast for up to 25 dancers with at least 4-years experience en pointe. All dancers must be prepared to audition en pointe. Auditions will be held Saturday April 12, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. at the Conservatory of Movement, 73 West Plumb Lane (Lakeside Shopping Center).

The rock ballet Vortex will be part of the annual Artown celebration and will be performed at the Bartley Ranch Hawkins Amphitheatre July 11th and 12th. Powerful and passionate, Vortex fuses contemporary ballet and dance movement with pulsing, grinding beats of modern rock and alternative music.

For more information please contact us at 775 762-5165.

A.V.A. Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. They are northern Nevada's largest company under the instruction of a professional faculty with years of performing experience in renowned metropolitan ballet and production companies across the United States and Europe.