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 Post subject: Diablo Ballet 2008-2009 season
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:43 pm 
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A small blurb from the SF Chronicle is located here


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:42 pm 
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In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mary Ellen Hunt previews Lauren Jonas' production of "Coppelia," being performed at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 22:

SF Chronicle


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:09 pm 
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In the San Francisco Chronicle, Rachel Howard talks to Oregon Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Christopher Stowell, who is setting excerpts of his work "All Eyes on You" for Diablo Ballet's Evening on Broadway, Friday and Saturday, November 21-22, 2008 at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek.

SF Chronicle


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:08 pm 
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In the San Francisco Chronicle, Rachel Howard reviews Diablo Ballet's "Evening on Broadway" performance, including Balanchine's "Who Cares?" Christopher Stowell's "All Eyes on You," and Viktor Kabaniaev's "Difference of Perceptions," on Friday, November 21, 2008 at the Dean Lesher Center in Walnut Creek.

SF Chronicle


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:31 pm 
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Diablo Ballet has hired an Executive Director -- the first since 2002. Laura Casey reports in the Contra Costa Times:

Contra Costa Times


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:44 am 
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This sounds very positive - someone who can relieve the strain on Lauren and take the lead on fund-raising.

In contrast to this step, it always amazes me that ballet companies in Eastern Europe, generally don't have an ED. Thus at Estonian National Ballet, a 55-strong company, the AD also acts as ED, arranging tours etc. - a nightmare or what!

I missed the fab review from last year, but was pleased to read that the "Who Cares" show was such a success. It's a feather in Diablo's cap that the Balanchine Trust is happy for them to perform "Who Cares".


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:54 am 
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I found Julia Adam's one-act rendition of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" quite a hoot, especially in her inventive use of children. Her signature quirky style is evident in the choreography. I am looking forward to her "The Little Prince" for the company later in the season.

And I am liking what I'm seeing from company dancer Tina Kay Bohnstedt whose world premiere of "A Path of Delight or...," improves on her past choreographic creations. While Adam's "Midsummer" provided the entertainment for the ticket-buying audience, Bohnstedt's ballet showcased the company's performing talent, in particular those of former SFB dancer Mayo Sugano and former Houston Ballet dancer and Christopher Bruce muse Erika Johnson.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:46 pm 
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Old news by now :roll:

A review of Diablo Ballet


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 12:17 am 
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Matthew Pierce's beautifully haunting score, an original composition specifically for Julia Adam's "The Little Prince," played live by Pierce on violin with Marc Shapiro on piano, was most definitely my the highlight of this program.


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 Post subject: Diablo Ballet-May 8-9 2009 performances
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 11:04 am 
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This is a short review I did of Diablo Ballet's recent performances at the Dean Lesher Center.

Diablo Ballet has discovered the elusive formula for building successful repertoire: accessibility plus creativity. Increasing the viewership of professional dance is of utmost importance right now. The financial survival of dance companies depends on it. Even when the economy is good, arts organizations struggle to stay afloat, so when economic times are hard, dance faces even more significant peril. The front line in this battle is the audience, which leads to a difficult debate on accessibility. Presenting popular works may seem like a win-win for everyone involved. The audience likes what they’re seeing, they buy more tickets, the company can pay its bills, the dancers get their salaries and the next season becomes possible. Yet, there is a strong opposition who fear that by catering to spectator interest, choreography and repertory will suffer. Diablo Ballet has shown that this need not be the case with dance that is creative and challenging while remaining accessible.

The Diablo Ballet’s weekend performances at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek provided something for everyone. The program began with KT Nelson’s The Escaping Game, which celebrated all aspects of youthful energy; from the exciting fun to the alluring flirtation to the vulnerable nervousness. The movement really conjured Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe for me, but The Escaping Game was much better. There was a clearer fusion of ballet and modern esthetics than in Tharp’s piece, because Nelson seamlessly built the movement as one continuous stream of consciousness rather than a chunky juxtaposition of the two. And, there were particular moments that exploded off the stage. The first was the men’s diagonal sequence at the end of the 2nd section. They moved from upstage left to downstage right in absolute, exhilarating flight. The second was the accelerando sequence at the end of the piece where the speed of the lifts and dips increased along with the music until they were of true abandon. This piece was funky and cool, but still incredibly thought provoking. It showcased the images of youth which were fascinating on their own, but also reflected what we give up when we choose to leave our youth behind.

For those viewers who prefer the more story-telling side of dance, the Diablo Ballet also presented Julia Adam’s new work, The Little Prince. It had all the aspects of narrative ballet with a cast of interesting characters and a story of their interactions. The stand-out moments were the animals: the sheep, the fox and particularly Mayo Sugano’s snake. Adam clearly did her research on how each of these animals move and created choreography for the dancers that was incredibly accurate and visually engaging. Every narrative ballet has some version of the grand pas de deux, which often manifests itself as the relationship between two of the main characters. The dance between Edward Stegge as the Prince and Erika Johnson as the Rose was as grand pas de deux as you can get. It really was the connection between those two characters expressed through connective movement.

This evening featured two very different types of pieces in one engaging program. Diablo Ballet’s decision to pair two contrasting works on the same program was a smart idea. They had two contemporary works, but with very different form and content: one conceptual, one narrative. This speaks to a larger audience because there is really something for everyone. And, it also allows those who gravitate towards one type of dance to be exposed to another. Maybe they will find themselves pulled to an unfamiliar form of dance that they little experience with. Accessibility plus creativity opens doors for the audience and in return for the company.


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 12:44 pm 
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The financial survival of dance companies depends on it. Even when the economy is good, arts organizations struggle to stay afloat, so when economic times are hard, dance faces even more significant peril.


At less then 10 performances a season, is the cost, work and stress of keeping it running worth it? :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:38 am 
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A fair question, CMaclaine - it's good to look at all the options every now and again.

I've been aware of the company for around a decade, but as I'm based in London, I've yet to see them. But given the quality of the choreographers who work with them and the fact that the Balanchine Trust authorise performances (one Royal Ballet Balanchine performance was rumoured to have to be pulled because the Trust weren't happy about one of the lead dancers) strongly indicates that artistically this is a good company which pleases audiences. I'd favour quality rather than quantity in terms of their performances.

Turning to those who work for the company, I guess the artists, artistic and administrative staff must think it worthwhile, otherwise they wouldn't devote their working lives to this activity.

On the wider aspect of whether it is worthwhile for the community, I had another look at the Diablo Ballet and re-read the material about their educartional and outreach work, which seems to admirably enrich the community around them and further afield.

I'm sure there are times of frustration when those involved in Diablo ask themselves the same question - is it all worthwhile?. But from where I stand, I believe there are many good reasons to continue and I hope that Diablo and many other chamber ballet companies around the US weather the current stormy financial waters successfully.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:25 am 
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From an audience stand point, they offer an alternative to other bigger ballet companies in the area. Companies that would not take the artistic chances Diablo Ballet takes. DB's programming is often very refreshing.


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