Ballet Austin II – Ballet Austin’s second company – presents its annual spring production, Ballet Austin II @ AVST, April 6-7, at AustinVentures StudioTheater at Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center. This year’s performance features works by George Balanchine, previous New American Talent/Dance finalist Victor Kabaniaev and Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills.
The program opens with Valse Fantaisie, hailed by The New York Times as “the essence of Balanchine’s style: speed and momentum.” A classical work filled with quick, airy movements, Valse Fantaisie is set to Russian composer Mikhail Glinka’s “Valse Fantaisie in B minor”, and has a whimsical nature that lifts the spirits. Staging the ballet for Ballet Austin II is SMU associate professor and acclaimed dancer Leslie Peck, one of only a few dancers worldwide authorized to stage Balanchine ballets by the Balanchine Trust.
Phrases, the second piece on the program, offers a rich contrast to the first. Kabaniaev’s contemporary choreography and thoughtful movements characterize the work, while music by Arvo Pärt ebbs and swells to reflect the ballet’s intensity. Phrases returns to the AustinVentures StudioTheater three years after its world premiere in 2009.
The program closes with Stephen Mills’ The Naughty Ones, a sizzling performance set to the ‘50s-style rock music of local band, The Naughty Ones. Originally commissioned by Ballet Pacifica in 1997, the Los Angeles Times called The Naughty Ones “the hit of the evening” while the Austin Chronicle praised its “raucous, syncopated rhythms of hardcore swing.” Featuring lively choreography peppered with popular dance moves of the 1960s, the work chronicles the love affairs of four couples and is sure to leave the audience wanting more.
April’s performance caps off a remarkable season for Ballet Austin II including an Orange County tour with Thang Dao’s critically acclaimedQuiet Imprint and the recent sold-out world premiere of Nelly van Bommel’s Hansel & Gretel.
Tickets for Ballet Austin II at AVST and can be purchased atwww.balletaustin.org or through Ballet Austin’s Box Office at 512.476.2163.
About Ballet Austin II
Established in 1999, Ballet Austin II is Ballet Austin’s second company/apprentice program. The 10 apprentices, ranging in age from 18‐23, are employed for 34 weeks. They perform with the main company in larger productions as well as presenting their own roster of repertoire and educational programming throughout Texas. Choreographers represented in the Ballet Austin II repertoire include Stephen Mills, Gina Patterson and New American Talent/Dancefinalists Thang Dao, Thaddeus Davis, Viktor Kabaniaev and Nelly van Bommel.
Apprentices are contracted with Ballet Austin II for up to two years, during which time they receive artistic guidance, career management counseling and job placement assistance. Ballet Austin II apprentices are recruited through Ballet Austin’s Summer Intensive Program and the year‐round Professional Division (Trainee Program). Nearly 70 percent of the main company’s current roster includes graduates of Ballet Austin II. Additionally, former Ballet Austin II dancers have joined the ranks of both ballet and modern dance companies, including Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Washington Ballet, Nai‐Ni Chen, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Ballet Met, Kansas City Ballet, Kim Robards Dance Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Wideman/Davis Dance and Thang Dao Dance.
About Ballet Austin
As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its "classically innovative" vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs and one of the nation's largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Artistic Director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin "a company with big ambitions" originating work that is "absorbing."