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American Repertory Ballet presents Classic Beauty: An All-Tchaikovsky Program at NBPAC

originally published: 02/26/2024

American Repertory Ballet presents Classic Beauty: An All-Tchaikovsky Program at NBPAC

ARB Classic Beauty dancer Clara Pevel, photo by Harald Schrader Photography

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- American Repertory Ballet (ARB) presents Classic Beauty, an all-Tchaikovsky program featuring excerpts from two timeless ballet masterpieces - Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty - at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) from March 8-10, 2024.

“I have steadily watched every individual dancer continue to evolve and elevate their ballet technique, while simultaneously finding further texture and depth in their interpretation of iconic roles in the classical idiom,” says Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. “This program offers both the ARB dancers and audiences a chance to enjoy renowned music and today's classical ballet, with a skillful approach and truly expressive characterizations.”

Swan Lake Act II - The performance opens with the majestic Swan Lake Act II, showcasing one of ballet’s most iconic and beloved scenes. As the curtain rises, audiences will be enchanted by Odette, a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse, gracing the stage alongside Siegfried, the prince who falls in love with her, as well as her fellow enchanted swans. Accompanied by Tchaikovsky's poignant score, ARB brings to life this enduring tale of love, betrayal, and heartbreak. Rehearsal Director Harriet Clark, who is staging the classic choreography (after Marius Petipa), states, “The role of Odette, the Swan Queen, is probably the most challenging role for any ballerina, as it demands a full display of both feminine strength and resilience.”  

The Sleeping Beauty Act III - Rounding out the program is the spectacular The Sleeping Beauty Act III, which showcases the grand wedding of Princess Aurora and her Prince complete with a cast of colorful characters, like Puss-in-Boots and Little Red Riding Hood. This particular staging, by Rehearsal Director Calvin Hilpert (after Marius Petipa), promises that this act will delight both families and seasoned ballet enthusiasts alike.

Performances of Classic Beauty will take place at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, March 8-10, 2024. Tickets starting at $25 can be purchased online at www.arballet.org or by calling the box office at 732.745.8000.  Performances take place Friday, March 8 at 7:00pm; Saturday, March 9 at 2:00pm & 7:00pm; and Sunday, March 10 at 2:00pm.



 
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On March 9th at 6:15pm, there will also be a free pre-show artist interview with Gillian Murphy, Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, ARB Artistic Associate, and one of the most quintessential ballerinas of her time. Ms. Murphy will be discussing her thoughts on the classic roles of Odette and Aurora, both of which she has performed for many years to great acclaim and renown.

Classic Beauty brings together two crown jewels of the classical ballet repertoire, set to Tchaikovsky’s powerful and emotive scores, performed by ARB’s gifted dancers.

Harriet Clark, ARB Rehearsal Director, received her pre-professional training at the School of American Ballet and subsequently joined American Ballet Theatre under the directorship of Mikhail Baryshnikov. At ABT she danced a rich array of classical and contemporary repertoire while working with renowned choreographers including Sir Kenneth Macmillan, Anthony Tudor, Twyla Tharp, and Agnes DeMille. Ms. Clark went on to dance as a soloist in The Pacific Northwest Ballet and performed works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and José Limón. For many years Ms. Clark was the Dance Captain and Swing of the Broadway Production of The Phantom of the Opera where she had the opportunity to work with choreographer Dame Gillian Lynn, as well as the Tony award winning director, Harold Prince. Her responsibilities included staging, rehearsing, and maintaining all choreography as well as covering all ensemble and dance roles. Ms. Clark has been on the faculty of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School for 15 years and serves on the ABT National Training Curriculum Board of Examiners. From 2018 to 2022 she was the Artistic Director of the NYU Master’s Degree Program in ABT Pedagogy. She has taught as an adjunct professor of Dance at Marymount Manhattan College, Pace University, and Vassar College. She has choreographed for the JKO School in both the Children’s and Upper divisions, for Marymount College, St. Paul’s School, and for the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre. As Children’s Repetiteur for American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Clark has worked closely with choreographer Alexei Ratmansky on his original productions of The NutcrackerThe Sleeping BeautyThe Seasons, and Harlequinade.

Calvin Hilpert, ARB Rehearsal Director, began his pre-professional training at age 12 with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, then at age 15, he subsequently transitioned his studies to the San Francisco Ballet School. Following his training, Mr. Hilpert joined the KUNST-STOFF dance company where he danced on multiple international tours. Ever in the pursuit of more knowledge, Mr. Hilpert decided to deepen his understanding of contemporary movement after receiving an invitation to study as a guest at the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz in Dresden, Germany. While at school in Dresden, he was scouted by a guest teacher to join the Saarländisches Staatstheater. During his time with the company, he had the pleasure of dancing works by acclaimed dance makers such as Stijn Celis, Marguerite Donlon, Bernard Baumgarten, and Fernando Hernando, among others, as well as creating a brand new work himself. After gaining this new perspective on dance, movement, and art-making, Mr. Hilpert returned to the KUNST-STOFF dance company as an Artistic Contributor where he collaborated on creating several works with the company’s Artistic Director, Yannis Adoniou. In addition to this collaboration, he had the opportunity to create multiple works on his own. Following the conclusion of his second stint with KUNST-STOFF, Mr. Hilpert accepted an invitation to join the Budapest Dance Theatre. In Budapest, Mr. Hilpert enjoyed performing various works by respected choreographers such as Jiří Pokorný, Rasa Hammadi, Béla Földi, and Alexandra Sághy.  After leaving the stage, he enjoyed his time as the Rehearsal Director for Milwaukee Ballet 2 and continued to create new works, before joining ARB as a Rehearsal Director in 2023. 

Led by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, and with a distinctive reputation for innovation and individuality, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is recognized as one of the state’s premier performing arts organizations. Presenting classical repertory alongside new and existing contemporary work, ARB is a founding resident company of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center while also performing in major venues across New Jersey and beyond for an annual audience of more than 30,000.

Founded in 1954 as the Princeton Ballet Society, ARB has been consistently designated a “Major Arts Institution'' by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for the past two decades and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. The company has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other major foundations and leaders in the field as a prominent force in the field of dance. Princeton Ballet School, ARB’s official school, attracts talent from around the world while providing opportunities for local students of all ages, such as through its award winning DANCE POWER program.



 
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