Portland Ovations brings one of the most revered arts organizations in the U.S. and one of the world's top dance companies, the Joffrey Ballet, to Merrill Auditorium on March 21 at 7:30pm. Portland Ovations presentation of the Joffrey Ballet anchor's a season long theme honoring two important centennials the opening of Portland's cherished Merrill Auditorium and the premiere of one of the greatest works of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.
Recognized as America's premier ballet company and world-renowned for it's interpretations of classical works as well as pioneering modern dance pieces, the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet will bring one of their crowning achievements, Rite of Spring to life on the Merrill stage for its' Maine debut along with other thrilling contemporary works. Originally written as an orchestral score for dance, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was premiered by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky on May 29, 1913. Controversial in its time, history now sees it as a work that changed classical dance and music forms, as well as how audiences hear and see. The Joffrey Ballet initially reconstructed Rite of Spring in 1987 based on meticulous research of the original costumes, design and choreography and have received raves for its authenticity. Ovations Executive Director Aimée M. Petrin states, "Hosting a company of this stature, with as many as 46 dancers, performing a work of this magnitude will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community."
In addition to the performance by The Joffrey Ballet on the evening of March 21, Portland Ovations also offers several Ovations Offstage activities to learn about, experience and engage with the Rite of Spring.
Partnering with Movies at The Museum at the Portland Museum of Art Ovations offers a Rite of Spring mini film series featuring the films, Igor and Coco on Friday March 15 at 6:30pm and Pina on March 16 and 17 at 2pm.
Ovations has also made possible a Ballet Masterclass with Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater at the Portland School of Ballet on Wednesday, March 20 at 3pm, to register call 207.773.3150 or email email@example.com.
One hour prior to the performance on March 21 inside the Rehearsal Hall at Merrill Auditorium Ovations Offstage offers the pre-performance lecture Joffrey and the Rite of Spring, where Carol Dilley, Director of Dance at Bates College will discuss the reconstruction process that resulted in the historic Joffrey presentation of the Rite of Spring. Dilley will also talk about the original context of the Rite of Spring, including the drama of the opening night riots in 1913. Finally she will provide tips for watching the piece and speak to how this piece lives today as a vital element in any contemporary repertory.
Tickets for The Joffrey Ballet range from $41 to $54 for Ovations' Members and $45 to $60 for the general public. Wright Express generously sponsors The Joffrey Ballet performance and support is provided by the Maine Arts Commission, The Maine Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Davis Family Foundation. To purchase tickets visit www.portlandovations.org, contact PortTIX at 207-842-0800 or stop by the box office window at Merrill Auditorium.