October kicks off the Sarasota Ballet’s 2013-2014 season, and to prepare, they put on a special performance with a meet and greet for the members of the press this past week. Dancers performed excerpts from George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, which are dances choreographed by the dancers themselves. I put them on stage and let them do their thing” says Webb. Board Member of ten years, Hillary Steele tells me, “I don’t know anywhere else that would do that.” Second Season Apprentice, David Hochberg is looking forward to performing Who Cares? by George Balanchine live, “It’s jazzy and a lot of fun” he tells me. I agree, it’s an upbeat piece that allows the dancers to step outside the normal classical and modern pieces and show you what else they are capable of within.
Director, Iain Webb praised his board members for all their hard work they have done over the past two years. “From here forward it’s a very important point in the company’s career. Now that the foundation is solid, the future can be quite incredible,” states Webb, “If we pull the plans together with what we have, it’s exciting. The NY Times is coming in November to do an article on us.” The reason for national attention, when they were in D.C. recently, wasn’t only because they were the smallest budgeted company performing at the Kennedy Center… as Sarah Kaufman from the Washington Post said, “The Sarasota Ballet… was the jewel of this year’s ‘Ballet across America’ (in D.C.).”
This season they will perform seven programs which include more Ashton works than any other company, another reason for the Sarasota Ballet to have all eyes on them. Webb and Margaret Barbieri head to London in September to sit down on a select panel where they will get thirty minutes to speak and give their insight; ten more additional minutes than any other company because of their expertise on the Ashton style.
The new position of Community Outreach Coordinator created for Sara Sardelli, will give the Ballet an opportunity to be more present in the community with the intent to attract a younger demographic. Sardelli, a Ballerina herself, danced with the Sarasota Ballet for four years, “This city is so lucky,” Sara tells me with a big smile, “The dancers are some of the nicest in the country, and my best friends. We are family and they saw our spirit in D.C.”
The Sarasota Ballet is lifting the sophistication level of our beautiful culture here in Sarasota. If you have not been to a performance, do yourself a favor and go before you read about them in the New York Times. We live in a city that has big city performance arts happening without the traffic and high ticket price, embrace it! For performances and ticket information go to http://www.sarasotaballet.org
photo credit: Dayle Hoffmann