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The ballet world is highly stratified, however, there are small companies that quietly thrive — as if occupying a separate ecosystem. On the threshold of the 24th season of Diablo Ballet, I spoke with co-founder and artistic director Lauren Jonas about the phenomenon.
A sprightly and spry revue with its brightly colored costumes (Cynthia Sarmiento), lively accompaniment from Greg Sudmeier with the Diablo Ballet Swing Orchestra, and playful choreography, this piece continues to be a surefire way to mark the beginning of the holiday season.
An emotive, contemporary duet that charmed with a universal parable. A chamber work replete with neoclassical speed and musicality. A fun-filled, energetic ensemble dance to welcome the coming holiday season. What a well-crafted program to kick off Diablo Ballet’s twenty-fourth year!
Nothing says “holidays” like ballet set to the bright music of the 1930s and ’40s, including favorites by legends like Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole.
People love to talk about Lauren Jonas behind her back. They describe the Diablo Ballet co-founder and artistic director using words like “nurturing,” “generous,” “incredible.”
With the help of a California Arts Council grant, Jonas and Stegge are teaching movement classes to juvenile offenders in a bid to give them new and positive ways to express themselves — and maybe even help them stay out of juvenile hall. The teens — ages 15 to 18 — meet weekly with the dancers and learn how to turn their emotions into movement.