Ballet celebrates Balanchine

Oregon Ballet Theatre features three of famed choreographer’s pieces

Published May 31, 2013 at 05:00AM

The season is coming to a close for the Oregon Ballet Theatre, and it has been an eventful one that included the resignation of artistic director Christopher Stowell, the retirement of several beloved principal dancers and the upcoming return to Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center.

Appreciative of the past and looking forward to the future, the region’s largest full-time professional ballet company will wrap up this transitional season with a program dedicated to George Balanchine. “Celebrating Balanchine” runs June 14-16 at the Keller Auditorium in Portland.

Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet, choreographing more than 400 dances in his 60-year career, according to The George Balanchine Foundation. In honor of the 30th anniversary of his death, the Oregon Ballet Theatre will present three examples of Balanchine’s choreography.

The program kicks off with “Square Dance,” first presented in Portland in 2011. Conceived in 1957, it is “a piece that layers the complex geometries of traditional western partner dancing with the elegant architectures of chamber music by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli,” according to a news release.

With the company premiere of “Prodigal Son,” the Oregon Ballet Theatre adds the 17th Balanchine ballet to its repertoire. Written in collaboration with painter Georges Roualt and composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1929, the piece is one of Balanchine’s earliest works.

“Stravinsky Violin Concerto” is one of the last pieces Balanchine choreographed before his death in 1983. The dance is “full of crisp complexity and angular shapes,” according to the news release.

The program runs approximately two hours. The Oregon Ballet Theatre will return in October with its 2013-14 season, entitled “Tributes.”

Ticket prices range from $23-$140, plus service fees, depending on seat location. For reduced handling charges, contact the Oregon Ballet Theatre directly at www.obt.org or 888-922-5538.

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