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Great Masters of Dance

Categorized as: Performing Arts & Dance
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Closing the 2017 – 2018 Season is Program 7, Great Masters of Dance, featuring Antony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading, George Balanchine's Bugaku and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand. Originally choreographed in 1975 on American Ballet Theatre, The Leaves are Fading is a romantic and sweeping ballet and one of Tudor’s purest dance works. In Judith Chazin-Bennahum’s book The Ballets of Antony Tudor, she describes the work as a “rhapsodic expression of couples in love” and a ballet that “re-established Tudor’s pre-eminent position as a great choreographer at American Ballet Theatre.” Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times exclaimed that “The Leaves Are Fading becomes a special elegy, an autumnal remembrance of multiple facets of young love when it is dewy but not intoxicated.” Bugaku is Balanchine’s evocative and remarkable tribute to the refined elegance of Japanese music and dance. Referred to as “the sexiest show in ballet,” by renowned dance critic Anna Kisselgoff, it portrays a Japanese wedding ceremony and has been described by reviewers as having ‘the subtlety of Japanese painting on silk, the strength of Japanese wrestlers.’ Balanchine commissioned composer Toshiro Mayuzumi to compose the score to suggest ‘Bugaku’—the dance portion of a ‘Gagaku’ performance—but using Western instrumentation. With its use of color, stylized movement and ritualistic mood, alongside the respect shown for the dance and consummate courtesy of the dancers to each other, Bugaku plays faithful tribute to the ‘Gagaku’ traditions. The evening culminates with Ashton’s tragically beautiful Marguerite and Armand, epitomizing Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev’s iconic partnership. Danced to Franz Liszt’s ‘Piano Sonata in B minor,’ the ballet takes its inspiration from the nineteenth century novel La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, concentrating on the play’s tragic essence. It’s intense and mesmerizing choreography was noted by Fonteyn as “a passion more real than life itself.” Marguerite and Armand was first added to the Company’s repertoire during its 25th Anniversary Season and The Sarasota Ballet remains the only American ballet company to perform this masterwork.

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