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Loyola Ballet celebrates National Dance Week with performances, Russian masterpiece

April 27, 2012

The Loyola Ballet celebrates National Dance Week and Loyola University New Orleans’ centennial with a mixed repertory program on Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m., in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located in the Communications/Music Complex, on Loyola's main campus. The performances, directed by Laura Zambrano, include classical, contemporary and character works.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for all students, seniors, children and Loyola faculty/staff, and are available online at http://www.montage.loyno.edu or by calling 504-865-2074. Tickets will also be available at the door 30 minutes prior to the performance. Free parking is available in the West Road Garage, accessible from St. Charles Avenue.

The program opens with excerpts from Marius Petipa’s last true masterpiece “Raymonda,” set to music by Alexander Glazunov. The Russian ballet is set in the time of the Crusades and tells the story of Raymonda, a beautiful noblewoman who is engaged to marry the crusader, Jean de Brienne. During Raymonda’s birthday celebration at an ancient castle in Hungary, Abderachman, a Saracen knight, arrives with his entourage. Overwhelmed by Raymonda’s beauty, Abderachman confesses his love for her, and when she refuses his advances, he attempts to abduct her.

The performance features special guest artist and Loyola alumnus, Kenneth Bryan ’99, in the role of Abderachman. During rehearsals for “Raymonda,” Irina Vassileni-Uralsky, a graduate of the famed Bolshoi Ballet Academy and former Bolshoi Ballet dancer, taught master classes and coached the students. Vassileni-Uralsky’s residency was sponsored by the Loyola Student Government Association.

Other works on the program include:

“Ocean and Pearls,” a pas de trois restaged by Zambrano after Arthur Saint-Leon and set to music by Riccardo Drigo.

“Shostakovich Suite,” a work performed by students from Loyola’s Preparatory Ballet Program and choreographed by faculty members, Leigh Brockman, Cheryl O’Sullivan, Laura Zambrano and associate professor emerita Gayle Parmelee.

“Solo Por Un Tango,” a contemporary work set to music by Gotan Project and choreographed by Michelle Brenes, a graduating senior with a ballet minor and psychology major.

“Topotukha,” a Russian character work performed by guest artists Komenka Ethnic Dance Ensemble.

National Dance Week, hailed by former President George W. Bush as “an opportunity for people to celebrate and recognize dance as a unique and inspiring art form,” was established to bring greater recognition to the art of dance. Held annually in April, the week features dance organizations from across the country that celebrate by presenting educational and programmatic concerts for all ages.

For more information, contact Zambrano at lzambran@loyno.edu or call 504-865-2778.

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