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May 20-21, 2017 – Spring Showcase: A Celebration of Our Students

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This annual celebration of our students is the culmination of the year’s classes. All students of the full-term programs of SPB are given the opportunity to perform in the Student Showcase. The showcase includes one young dancers performance on Saturday and three performances for the full-term students of the school including group offerings Graduation Ball and American Quilt, as well as snippets of modern choreography and an original work by the graduating seniors.

The School of St. Paul Ballet will celebrate their students in a year-end showcase at the Janet Wallace Performing Arts Center Saturday, May 21 – Sunday, May 22. Saturday performances include a 3 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. show. There will be a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the studio at 651-690-1588.

Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 12:00pm Young Dancer’s Performance
Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 3:00pm Beginning Ballet-Level 6
Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 7:30pm Beginning Ballet-Level 6
Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 3:00pm Beginning Ballet-Level 6

Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Mainstage at Macalester College
1600 Grand Ave | St Paul, MN 55105
TICKETS $20 Adult, $17 Senior, $15 Student (ages 13-22), $12 Child (ages 12 and under)

Young Dancer’s Performance

This showcase of our youngest dancers ages four through six is a family-friendly, one hour performance bursting with creativity. Following program director, Mary Coats’ intuitive developmental movement the performance is a glimpse inside the classroom where the foundation is laid for life-long learning and creativity. With plenty of room for improvisation this “stage time” allows each child to be comfortable in their own exploration while being part of the larger group and sharing what they have learned with family and friends. Lively music throughout and a sing along finale will leave audiences joyful!

American Quilt 

American Quilt is a ballet made up of multiple divertissements in the American west. Setting the scene are the farm animals and birds, soon joined by galloping ponies and boisterous children. The ranch hands show off their skills and the town girls help to sew a quilt, figuratively weaving all of the character’s lives together with the spirit inspired by Aaron Copland’s Americana flair. The “gung-ho” feel of this production will leave audiences whistling all the way home. Maureen Haworth choreographed and coached the main role of “Rodeo Girl” when the ballet first premiered at Ballet Arts, and has done the same for St. Paul Ballet in this re-staging. Anna Roehr, Preston Stockert, Laura Daugherty, Laura Greenwell, Karen Paulson Rivet, and Julia Stutter have all contributed choreography and coaching for this production.

Graduation Ball

This ballet has an illustrious Twin Cities history that will be carried on by the vibrant and eager young artists of St. Paul Ballet’s most advanced levels. The choreography is after David Lichine’s original work for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in 1940 and has been handed down to St. Paul Ballet’s School Director, Laura Greenwell by Bonnie Mathis. Mathis was a Principal with American Ballet Theatre and Netherlands Dance Theater, and co-founder of Ballet Arts Minnesota in 1989 which became a premier ballet school in the Midwest in the following years. Coached by Laura Greenwell and Zoe Emilie Henrot, this re-staging is not to be missed.

Graduation Ball is a narrative in which Viennese school girls are joined by cadets from the city’s military academy to celebrate the graduation of the senior class. Mischief, flirtation, and joyous dances ensue. Highlighting the hard work of SPB’s highest level, this is a light-hearted ballet that requires technical prowess and theatricality of the dancers. Company dancers Jarod Boltjes, Elander Rosser, and Preston Stockert appear as cadets and the headmaster along with special guest, Jim Leiberthal, reprising his roleas the headmistress from the Ballet Arts 2004 production.

The Legacy of Graduation Ball 1940 to 2016

Only recently we learned the historical link to the premiere of this ballet in 1940 in Sydney, Australia.

From the National Library of Australia: “Graduation Ball was conceived and choreographed by David Lichine in Australia during the 1939-1940 tour by the Original Ballet Russe, receiving its world premiere in Sydney on 1 March 1940 at the Theatre Royal. Set in a Viennese girls’ finishing school, this single-act ballet depicts the frolics of the excited young ladies and their partners, cadets from a local military college, at their annual ball.

The work was an immediate success, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting twenty-five curtain calls on opening night.”

Program cover-Australia Tour

Program Cover from Australian Tour

Covent Garden Tour to Australia_Opening page

About the company from your program

The company: Lorand Andáhazy listed


From the program: Lorand Andáhazy company picture from Scherezade

Graduation Ball program Australia

Tour program Graduation Ball


Lorand Andáhazy, junior cadet 5th from left


Lorand Andáhazy, center cadet of three on left


Lorand Andáhazy, cadet back left in center circle

The cast for this inaugural performance included Lorand Andáhazy as a Junior Cadet. Mr. Andáhazy came to Minnesota following WWII with his wife Anna Andrianova, also of the Ballet Russe, to create the Andáhazy Choreographic School and Ballet Borealis with one of their locations at our 1680 Grand Avenue studio.

More about Graduation Ball

On 2 March 1940, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the premiere performance of Graduation Ball received twenty-five curtain calls. It had been an immediate success. During the Sydney engagement and on the subsequent Australian tour, it was performed more than sixty times. It was first presented in the United States by the Original Ballet Russe at the 51st Street Theatre in New York City on 6 November 6, 1940, with Riabouchinska and Lichine in their original roles.

After the Australian tour, some changes occurred in the divertissements. The “Mathematics and Natural History Lesson” was dropped, and “Perpetuum Mobile,” which originally consisted of a circus number for Riabouchinska and Lichine, was replaced by new choreography for the same dancers and two of the Junior Girls. Further, in revivals of the work, Lichine’s original, innovative choreography for the “Dance-Step Competition,” consisting of single and double fouettés en tournantcombined with pirouettes en attitude, á la seconde, and en arabesque, with different arm positions, was usually changed to less challenging, and less interesting, series of single fouettés, with an occasional double at the dancer’s whim and capability.

Graduation Ball became a signature work of the Original Ballet Russe and was performed countless times. Over the years it has been danced by many companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, the Australian Ballet, the Ballet della Teatro alla Scala, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the Borovansky Ballet, the Companhia Nacional de Bailado, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, London Festival Ballet, Polski Balet Narodowy, the Royal Danish Ballet, and numerous regional companies associated with ballet schools and academies.

During his development of the scenario for Graduation Ball in 1939–40, David Lichine worked closely with both music director Antal Doráti and designer Alexandre Benois. Doráti created the score for the ballet by selecting some less-familiar works of Johann Strauss II and weaving them into a coherent sequence. These included:

“Acceleration Waltz”, Op. 234 (Opening)
“Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka”, Op. 214
“Perpetuum Mobile”, Op. 257
“Feuilleton Walzer”, Op. 293 (Pigtail Girl Variation)
“Auf der Jagd”, Op. 373
“Feenmarchen”, Op. 312 (Sylphide and the Scotsman)
“Express”, Op. 311 (Finale)
“Kammerball-Polka”, Op. 230 (Finale)
“Une Bagatelle”, Op. 187 (Mazurka Flirtation)
and several polkas and galops merged for accompaniment to the grand ballabile.
Doráti himself conducted the orchestra at the premiere performance.

Benois, who designed the set for the formal ballroom and the colorful costumes, offered Lichine many choices, producing designs for a number of characters that were dropped before the final version of the scenario.[2] His costumes for the Junior Girls were white dresses with blue pinafores, for the Senior Girls simple party dresses in pastel colors, and for the cadets white trousers and blue military jackets with white sashes across the shoulders. The Old General was dressed in a red and white uniform with gold braid, and the Headmistress wore a matronly gown in shades of brown. In the divertissements, the Drummer wore a dress uniform, the Sylphide a Romantic tutu, and the Scotsman a kilt.

The composer and conductor of the first performance of Graduation Ball, Antal Doráti when asked about Graduation Ball in an interview with Bruce Duffie in 2007 he said this, “… A young choreographer had this story and presented it to me and asked me to do some kind of musical score to it. So I took a couple of melodies by Johann Strauss and made a ballet of it. It was a very charming thing and it’s lasted a long time.  That’s now 40 years old, a pretty old gentleman.”

Doráti became the music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (which became the Minnesota Orchestra in 1968) for 11 years 1949-1960 and produced programs at the Northrop Auditorium with Lorand Andáhazy. During his time at the Minneapolis Symphony he also recorded Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 which is considered one of the most masterful recordings of this Copland work. Maybe it is no coincidence that these two works would share the program for this year’s Spring Showcase at St. Paul Ballet!

Vincent García-Márques, “Graduation Ball,” in The Ballets Russes: Colonel de Basil’s Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, 1932–1952 (New York: Knopf, 1990), pp. 258–65. Includes a detailed description of the origins and subsequent history of the ballet.
Jump up ^ Michelle Potter, “Graduation Ball: Some Australian Notes,” Michelle Potter on Dancing (19 August 2009), [1].
Jump up ^ Richard Stone, “Come into the Wings: The Art of Enid Dickson,” National Library of Australia News (August 2007), p. 18.

About The School Of St. Paul Ballet

Founded in 2002, St. Paul Ballet (SPB) has established a reputation for artistic excellence. SPB’s vision is to lift the human spirit through the art of ballet. St. Paul Ballet began as a training school offering pre-professional and recreational ballet at the historic 1680 Grand Avenue “studio above the hardware store” where ballet has been taught for over 60 years and in 2013 under the guidance of Artistic Advisor Christina Onusko and Executive Director Lori Gleason began a new chapter.

SPB strives to create a nurturing environment in which the student’s individual development is supported. The pre-professional program provides students with exceptional clarity and strength while encouraging a life-long love of dance and healthy body image. Live accompaniment, enrichment in modern and character dance along with promotion of health and well-being complete the training.

Students enrolled in the pre-professional program build the foundation for college-level programs, conservatory or a professional career. Over 100 students each year are trained in the Vaganova-based progressive curriculum augmented by modern dance and other genres to create the well-rounded dancer. The training is divided into levels appropriate to the age, maturity and dance expertise of each student. Auditions are required for placement and progressive advancement is based on strength, physical development and mastery.