Cincinnati Ballet Unveils a Landmark 2017-2018 Season

Includes the return to Music Hall and expanded performance schedule

Artistic Director Victoria Morgan announces a thrilling lineup for the 2017-2018 Season to begin in September 2017. The 54th Season offers a diverse repertoire of premiere works, exciting collaborations and timeless classics, three of which will be performed at the newly renovated Music Hall. The programming has been vastly expanded to include additional performances, a brand new family-friendly series, and a Nutcracker tour to Detroit.

“I am charged about the range and breadth of the 2017-2018 Season.” says Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. “Offering a record number of premieres, we are engaging national and international choreographers, including six who are completely new to our Cincinnati community. We ignite the season with our always-in-demand New Works series and close out with Bold Moves, joined by superstar choreographer Justin Peck and the contemporary, classically trained musicians of Chicago’s Eighth Blackbird. In between, we honor the great icons of dance, and continue to inspire unique collaboration!”

“2017-2018 is a watershed season,” says Executive Director Scott Altman. “Never before has Cincinnati Ballet presented such a wide and far-reaching landscape of ballet offerings for people of any age, whether novice or aficionado. We are advancing into new and and inspiring territory, and launching a new brand ‘look and feel’ to match. We look forward to celebrating our refreshed look, our new season, and new performances!”

Celebrating its 13th year, the Kaplan New Work Series opens the season September 14-24. The series offers an up-close experience with a variety of exciting and innovative premieres performed at the Aronoff’s intimate Jarson-Kaplan Theater. This year’s program includes a world premiere by contemporary dancer and choreographer Travis Wall, who is best known for his work on the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Other choreographers premiering new works include Cincinnati choreographer and founder of Dancefix Heather Britt, Associate Artistic Director Johanna Bernstein Wilt, and Penny Saunders, choreographer and member of contemporary company Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. A solo choreographed by Victoria Morgan sees its regional premiere, danced to the song “Black Coffee” by K.D. Lang.

Cincinnati Ballet commemorates the Grand Opening of Music Hall and our long-awaited return to the historic venue with Romeo and Juliet, October 26-29. Shakespeare’s legendary romance has captivated audiences for more than 420 years. Victoria Morgan’s unique blend of dance and drama brings romantic tragedy to life accompanied by Sergei Prokofiev’s instantly recognizable score performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

For the first time in 11 years, Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker returns to the Music Hall stage, December 14-24, accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Due to popular demand, this season offers additional opportunities for families to enjoy The Nutcracker with an expanded schedule in Cincinnati totaling 14 performances and a tour to Detroit November 24-25. In 2016, the company toured the beloved holiday tradition to the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where it was met with glowing reviews. Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post said the “sparkling version of the holiday classic teems with a sense of humor, love, and wonder.”

Carmina Burana + Serenade completes our 2017-2018 Music Hall engagements, February 8-11, with a regional premiere of Carmina Burana, choreographed by the renowned Nicolo Fonte, coupled with George Balanchine’s epochal Serenade. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, joined by the May Festival Chorus, performs Carl Orff’s powerful, evocative Carmina Burana. Nicolo Fonte is known for his daring and original approach to choreography and has worked with esteemed companies such as The Dutch National Ballet, Houston Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. R.M. Campbell of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote, “Fonte is a thinker, an architect who creates the new rather than reinvent the old. He is a master of manipulating space and creating relationships.” George Balanchine’s epochal Serenade completes the program with Tchaikovsky’s sweeping Serenade for Strings performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Director’s Cut: Musical Masters is a tailor-made program with works selected by Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. Two iconic ballet choreographers and one innovative new voice are paired with musical masterpieces performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, March 15-18 at the Aronoff Center. Morgan chose works that showcase the symbiotic relationship between dance and music, with a centerpiece of Fancy Free, the iconic ballet by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein. Fancy Free was the first ballet on which the two collaborated and later served as the inspiration for On The Town. Cincinnati Ballet’s performance is part of the centennial Bernstein celebration “Bernstein at 100,” a worldwide observation of his 100th birthday. The program also includes George Balanchine’s legendary ballet Rubies, danced to the music of Igor Stravinsky, and the Cincinnati premiere of Garett Smith’s Façades, featuring selections by Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Philip Glass. 

The 2017-2018 Season marks the launch of our brand new family series showcasing Cincinnati Ballet Second Company and Otto M. Budig Academy students in six performances of Beauty and the Beast, April 6-8 at the Aronoff Center. Created specifically for families with children, the performance is an adapted version of the fairy-tale favorite – including an engaging storyline, narration and interactive elements throughout. “This additional series not only provides the perfect introduction to the artistry of ballet,” says Second Company Director Suzette Boyer Webb, “it also provides main stage performing opportunities for our Second Company dancers, and invaluable experience for our Academy students and families.”

Cincinnati Ballet seeks out the most innovative works and groundbreaking choreographers of contemporary ballet for Bold Moves, April 26-29 – an adventurous, star-studded performance at the Aronoff Center with live music by Chicago-based ensemble, Eighth Blackbird. The program features renowned New York City Ballet dancer/choreographer Justin Peck in collaboration with world-famous musician Bryce Dessner for Murder Ballades, plus world premieres by Jennifer Archibald and Kate Weare.

Justin Peck was recently the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, and has been described as “the most eminent choreographer of ballet in the United States.” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times). Cincinnati Ballet welcomed Peck to Cincinnati last season with a performance of his Capricious Maneuvers. Murder Ballades features the music of Cincinnati-born musician/composer Bryce Dessner, best known as a member of the Grammy-nominated indie rock band The National, and artistic director of Cincinnati’s MusicNow Festival. A set of seven instrumental ballads, the composition was inspired by the tunes, stories, and playing styles from the great American folk music tradition.

Kate Weare is the founder and artistic director of New York-based contemporary dance company Kate Weare Dance, and is known for her ability to combine formal choreographic values with visceral emotional interpretation. Her choreography has been presented nationwide by the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, and American Dance Festival. Weare choreographs her first world premiere for Cincinnati Ballet in Bold Moves. Jennifer Archibald is the founder and artistic director of the Arch Dance Company in New York.  A graduate of the Alvin Ailey School, she pulls from a variety of influences and experiences, seamlessly blending ballet with hip hop and contemporary. This is Archibald’s third world premiere for Cincinnati Ballet, following her acclaimed piece Sit in 2014’s Kaplan New Works Series and Redeem, which premiered as part of Director’s Choice in 2016.

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