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Diablo Ballet turns 25 this season, and that’s something worth celebrating. And celebrate, they did, with a world premiere of a full-length ballet, Once Upon a Time, on March 22 and 23 at the Lesher Center for the Performing Arts. Choreographer Julia Adam has woven a host of fairytale characters—Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and her stepsisters, Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and more—into a narrative ballet that’s smart and funny, with broad appeal.
Diablo Ballet’s 25th Anniversary season was celebrated with the world premiere of Once Upon A Time, a new ballet in two scenes by choreographer Julia Adam. Set to music from George Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and accompanied by the Contra Costa Wind Symphony, Adam created a fairytale remix enjoyable for all ages.
At a time when larger cities (San Jose comes to mind) has seen such an asset vanish more than once, this suburban community does just fine with its mobile 10-dancer version, now living out its silver-anniversary program in unfettered leaps and bounds.
Creating a full-length ballet around the superstars of fairy tales — Little Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland also make the cut — was choreographer Julia Adam’s solution to her commission to create a family-friendly program celebrating Diablo Ballet’s 25th anniversary.
Twenty-five epic years of stellar dance and community engagement, all while building programs that both inspire and challenge audiences. Friday night’s opening of the Balanchine & Beyond program certainly continued this trend.
Diablo Ballet has been granted nearly $25,000 by the California Arts Council to help incarcerated teen girls learn to express their emotions through movement and teamwork, the ballet company said Friday.
Dekkers believes artists keep returning to “The Red Shoes” for inspiration for the same reason it attracted him. “A lot of the work I make is totally abstract, not really narratively driven, so when I do decide to do something based on a narrative, what draws me is the desire to find a way to take this framework and turn it on its head,” he said.
Diablo Ballet’s 24th Anniversary gala at the Lesher Center for the Arts, was a choreographic tapas of delicious, bite-sized samplings of the company’s diverse offerings and capabilities. The dancers were at their peak. For a company to go from organic, free-flowing contemporary pieces created by top modern choreographers such as Trey McIntyre to the simple elegance of the long-loved classical ballet Swan Lake with equal skill and precision requires a special breed of dancer with experience and maturity. This Diablo Ballet program clearly demonstrates that it is a company that nurtures and produces that breed of dancer.