Alexandra Ballet Performs Gems of the Ballet March 5-6 at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Art Center

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Excerpts from five of the most exciting classical and contemporary ballets come to life at the Touhill Theatre including Paquita, Graduation Ball, Frescoes, La Fille Mal Gardée, and Giverny.

Alexandra Ballet, the only pre-professional dance company in St. Louis that performs full-length classical ballets restaged by nationally known guest choreographers and presented with professional guest artists, returns to the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center with Gems of the Ballet -- a glittering array of audience favorites from five spectacular ballets including: Paquita, Graduation Ball, Frescoes, La Fille Mal Gardée, and Giverny.

“This is simply one of the best collections of ballet theatre you will find in St. Louis” explains Alexandra Zaharias, Alexandra Ballet’s Artistic Director. “We have brought together some of the most important works in ballet that emphasize the excitement, beauty, and art of dance.”

At Alexandra Ballet, you’ll notice the difference. The theatrical part of ballet, the intensity of the performers, and the preparation which goes into every performance sets Alexandra Ballet apart. Audience favorites from five spectacular ballets will be presented including:

  •     Polonaise and Grand Pas de Deux from Paquita, the first work ever staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet in 1847. The performance captures the lively spirit of Spanish gypsies and the elegance of the French royal court. Set in Spain during the occupation of Napoleon’s army, we learn that Paquita, a young gypsy girl, has a secret that even she doesn’t know -- her royal birth.
  •     Graduation Ball is a single act 20th Century ballet. Originally choreographed for the Ballet Russe in 1940 and set to music by Johann Strauss II. You will enjoy the annual ball at a Viennese finishing school and the mischievous young ladies, as they interact with their partners from a local cadet military school.
  •     Frescoes, excerpted from The Little Humpback Horse ballet of 1864. Watch as four company soloists use the Vaganova (Russian) ballet style to bring to life four beautiful paintings in the “Dance of the Lively Frescoes" with music composed by Cesare Pugni. (The magical Humpbacked Horse provides Ivanushka a magic whip that brings the Frescoes, painted on the walls of the Kahn’s palace, to life.)
  •     La Fille Mal Gardée is a charming pas de deux excerpted from the romantic comedy (loosely translated at “The Wayward Daughter”), originally created in 1789. It is one of the oldest and most important works for any ballet repertory. This delightful pas de deux sneaks a peak at a blissful moment away between two lovers. Performed by Alexandra Ballet’s Makensie Howe and Dillon Malinski, scholarship winners to American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet Summer Intensives.
  •     Giverny, a contemporary ballet which pays tribute to impressionist Claude Monet’s picturesque gardens at his Giverny home. You will see several of Monet's more abstract paintings of water lilies, irises and roses beautifully choreographed with lasting imagery of the art of dance.

Alexandra Ballet, lead by Alexandra Zaharias is recognized as one of the great pre-professional dance companies in the world. The Alexandra Ballet company repertoire extends beyond the Gems of the Ballet and ranges from original works to contemporary and traditional ballets such as Giselle, Cinderella, Coppelia, The Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty - over 70 different ballets. Dancers from Alexandra Ballet have gone on to perform with many prestigious ballet companies all over the world.

About Gems of the Ballet
Tickets for Alexandra Ballet’s Gems of the Ballet at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, on March 5th and 6th range from $10-$30, and are available at the Touhill ticket office (University of Missouri, St. Louis, One University Blvd, Drive, St. Louis, MO 63121), by phone at 314-516-4949 or online at http://www.touhill.org.

Alexandra Ballet presents Gems of the Ballet
Saturday, March 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 6, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center

About Alexandra Ballet
Few ballet companies equal Alexandra Ballet (http://www.alexandraballet.com) for its combination of dedication, scope and ballet programs that focus on classical ballet, as well as original contemporary works. Established in 1949, Alexandra School of Ballet, the official school of Alexandra Ballet, is the only St. Louis ballet school in which their dancers are trained in Vaganova (Russian), Cecchetti (Italian), Balanchine (American), and Bournonville (Danish) ballet techniques. Classes offered range from Creative Dance and Pre-Ballet for young dancers just starting their ballet training, to Pointe, Variations, Pas de Deux, Character, Modern, and Men’s Classes, which are designed for the serious ballet dancer, as well as those who want to train for the poise, grace and confidence that ballet offers. Alexandra Ballet is located in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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Lisa Howe
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