Sarasota Ballet salutes Nureyev – February 2015

Feb. 27 & 28, 2015

Sarasota Ballet Nureyev
The Sarasota Ballet borrowed the sumptuous setting for Rudolf Nureyev’s “Raymonda, Act III” from the Royal Opera House. / Photo by Frank Atura

Nureyev, who died in 1993, was known primarily as a dancer, but he was also a respected choreographer. This weekend at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Sarasota Ballet will present the Florida premiere of his “Raymonda Act III.”

Nureyev unveiled the piece, based on an original ballet by iconic 19th-century choreographer Marius Petipa, in the 1960s, and it was credited with reinvigorating the familiar classic.

The other two pieces on the program, George Balanchine’s “Apollo” and Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Jazz Calendar.” Balanchine created “Apollo,” with music by Igor Stravinsky, when he was just 24, and it propelled him into the upper echelons of the international ballet world. The first time Sarasota Ballet director Iain Webb ever saw Nureyev dance was in “Apollo.” Ashton’s “Jazz Calendar,” which is also getting its Florida premiere in this program, is based on the old English nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child,” and is set to a jazz score by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. Ashton created one of the roles, “Friday’s child,” specifically for Nureyev.

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BALANCHINE, ASHTON, NUREYEV, Sarasota Ballet. Reviewed at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Feb. 27; additional performances Feb. 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. 359-0099, ext. 101;

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