--The New York Times (June 2008)
"One came away feeling ballet's future was secure."
Following the success of its inaugural engagements in 2006 and 2008, Protégés III showcases rising stars from some of the world's greatest ballet academies. The programs highlight the academies' different styles of training and provide a glimpse into the future of ballet with performances by students from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Julio Bocca Foundation Ballet Argentino School of the Arts, The Royal Danish Ballet School, and Tokyo's New National Theatre Ballet School. The Protégés series provides a unique chance to witness the energy and technical training of a new generation of dancers at the schools that are creating and placing rising stars in ballet companies around the world. The performances are accompanied by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.
Royal Danish Ballet School: B for Bournonville (Paulli & Helsted/Bournonville, excerpts arranged by Ann Crosset) Timing: 20 min., followed by a 20-min. intermission
Tokyo's New National Theatre Ballet School: Triptyque (Akutagawa/Maki) Timing: 14 min., 5-min. pause
Julio Bocca Foundation Ballet Argentino School of the Arts: Con Nombre y Apellido ("With Name and Surname") (various composers/compilation of five Argentine choreographers) Timing: 23 min., followed by a 15-min. intermission
Bolshoi Ballet Academy: Classical Symphony (Prokofiev/Lavrovsky) Timing: 17 min.
Each of the four schools chosen for Protégés III represents a unique technique and style from four different corners of the world. These distinctive characteristics are what identify students with each academy. These students are tasked with perpetuating the movement style of each school as they graduate into professional companies, ultimately constituting an investment into the future of ballet.
Past Protégés festivals have brought young dancers to the Kennedy Center Opera House stage who have graduated from their respective academies and moved on to dance with some of the world's most prestigious ballet companies. Vladimir Shklyarov and Daria Vesnetsova, who both performed as representatives of the Kirov's Vaganova School in 2006, returned to the Opera House stage just this past February with the Mariinsky Ballet, performing lead roles in the company's Giselle.
Other prominent Protégés alumni include Claire Calvert, graduate of The Royal Ballet School and first soloist with The Royal Ballet; Ono Ayako, graduate of Tokyo's New National Theatre Ballet School and soloist for New National Theatre Ballet; Sebastian Kloborg and Alban Lendorf, graduates of the Royal Danish Ballet School and soloists with The Royal Danish Ballet; and Amandine Albisson-Pivat and Valentine Colasante, graduates of the Paris Opera Ballet School and soloists with the Paris Opera Ballet.
Protégés participants from 2006 and 2008 can also be found in the corps de ballet of other companies throughout the world, such as New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, the Scottish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Boston Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, and Ballet Noir.
Returning from their Protégés debut in 2008, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy is one of the oldest schools in classical ballet training, having been officially established in 1773. It has produced world-renowned dancers and has earned an excellent international reputation for its high-quality training. Under the leadership of former Bolshoi Ballet soloist and teacher, Marina Leonova, the school continues its tradition of training dancers who are known for their exceptional classical technique, personal expression, character development, clarity, musicality, and strength.
Tokyo's New National Theatre Ballet School, returning to the Kennedy Center after participating in the first Protégés festival in 2006, is one of the most visible training programs in Asia. Under the Artistic Direction of Maki Asami, the school has in a short time established itself as a forerunner in ballet training. Ms. Asami, the daughter of Tachibana Akiko, the man credited with introducing ballet to Japan, received her training from Les Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo and the School of American Ballet. Ms. Asami honors the legacy of her father by leading a curriculum at the school intended to usher in a new era of ballet in Japan.
Royal Danish Ballet School, also returning after participating in the 2006 Protégés festival, has crafted a unique place for itself among the academies of the world. While remaining true to the principles of the Ballet's founder, August Bournonville, the school has evolved and produced many dancers and choreographers of international standing since it opened in 1830. Bournonville is credited with creating a uniquely Danish style of ballet dancing which is characterized by a lightness and harmony that shies away from bravura and adheres to natural simplicity. Most important is the dramatic narrative and use of mime, storytelling, and characterization. Today, the school unites the best of the past and present by offering a rigorous and comprehensive training program which preserves the Bournonville tradition while introducing young dancers to many different styles of training.
Julio Bocca Foundation Ballet Argentino School of the Arts, appearing at the Kennedy Center for the first time, is by comparison a relatively young organization. Under the vision of one of Argentina's most celebrated dancers, Julio Bocca, it has opened the doors to talented individuals in Argentina and raised the profile of ballet in the country. The school aims to train dancers in a wide array of techniques, encouraging versatility by combining dance forms such as tango, folk dance, jazz, and pop. This diverse dance education prepares the students to perform with some of the world's leading ballet companies. Audiences will recognize American Ballet Theatre's Paloma Herrera and Herman Cornejo who both began their ballet training in Argentina.
The Kennedy Center Ballet Season is sponsored by Altria Group.
Support for the Kennedy Center Ballet Season is provided by Elizabeth and Michael Kojaian.
Protégés III is presented with the support of the Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation.
International Programming at the Kennedy Center is made possible through the generosity of the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts.
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