The Sacramento Ballet's 2012-13 season salutes Ron Cunningham's 25th year as co-artistic director.
With 50 of Cunningham's works in the company's repertoire, his choreography will take center stage in the four main shows.
"In planning the season we asked what are the best ballets and what will appeal to the audiences," he said.
The season will open in October with his full-length "Romeo & Juliet," followed by the holiday favorite "The Nutcracker," then the premiere of Cunningham's "The Great Gatsby" and, in March, his adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which was last performed here 10 years ago.
"We wanted Ron to be anchored by this program," said his wife and co-artistic director Carinne Binda. "The music and dancing are amazing in 'Romeo & Juliet,' and 'Midsummer' is so whimsical. Both of these showcase him not only as a choreographer but as a master storyteller."
Cunningham said he's not sure "Romeo & Juliet" is his very, very best work, but it allows the company to showcase its arsenal of highly talented male dancers (lots of swordplay). The "Juliets" also share top billing. And there's the soaring Prokofiev score, and the sets and costumes that the Sacramento Ballet now owns.
The February show is huge the premiere of "The Great Gatsby." Cunningham is in full choreographer mode on this piece, rereading the novel, watching the films, and overcoming the inertia of creating a new work.
George Balanchine's "Who Cares?" is also on this playbill.
"We've secured live music for 'Gatsby'," Cunningham said. "Billy Novick's jazz ensemble will come here from Boston. A third of the music will be his original work; the rest of the score from favorites from the Prohibition era."
With "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Balanchine's classic cowboy romp "Western Symphony" rounds out the March program.
In May, the ballet's Modern Masters/Protégés program, will acknowledge Cunningham's support of emerging choreographers. The "protégés" refer to former company members who got their start as dancers in Sacramento and have gone on to dance and choreograph in other cities. They include Amy Seiwert, Jared Nelson and Ilana Goldman. They will return for the 25th anniversary to showcase their works.
In addition to the main program, the company will include its Inside the Director's Studio events, Second Saturday appearances, a Nutcracker Tea Party, a Prohibition Party (tied to "Gatsby") and Beer & Ballet.
What: The ballet announces its program for the 2012-13 season, which marks co-artistic director Ron Cunningham's 25th year.
"Romeo & Juliet" (Community Center Theater): 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18-20, 2 p.m. Oct. 21
"The Nutcracker" (Community Center Theater): 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 1 p.m. Dec. 9, 7 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. Dec. 21, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23 (final shows)
"The Great Gatsby" (Sacramento Ballet premiere) and George Balanchine's "Who Cares?" (Community Center Theater): 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-9, 2 p.m. Feb. 10
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" and George Balanchine's "Western Symphony" (Community Center Theater): 7:30 p.m. March 21-23, 2 p.m. March 24
Modern Masters/Protégés (St. Francis Art Complex): 7:30 p.m. May 16-18, 2 p.m. May 19
Beer & Ballet and Inside the Director's Studio events (in-studio): Dates to be announced
Information: To request a brochure with details on the upcoming season, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (916) 552-5800, ext. 2.