Avant Chamber Ballet’s dancers are back in the studio and eager to perform for live audiences again. Katie Puder, the Dallas ballet company’s artistic director, is happy to oblige, announcing a season full of in-person performances including world premieres and the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.
“My main goal was to get back to live performances and give my dancers as many performances as possible! We are doing some challenging and fun classical works like Napoli, Concerto Barocco, and Brahms Trio but also new works by me and Fernanda Oliveira. Anytime you create a new work I think it reflects where we are as choreographers and collaborating dancers,” Puder said.
Early in the pandemic, the ballet company pivoted to producing digital work. Puder is considering creating digital work for free platforms.
“It's impossible to know 100% what will happen this year, but we are planning in-person performances all season and live streaming some of our free parks concerts at Klyde Warren Park,” Puder said.
Performing outdoors complemented its digital programming during its 2020-2021 season. In March, Avant Chamber Ballet presented Together We Dance, a joint performance with Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Bruce Wood Dance at Annette Strauss Square at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Following the spring performance, Avant Chamber Ballet returned to a more familiar routine to prepare for the new season.
“This summer felt a little more normal. Last summer was our return to in-studio classes after a long stretch on in-home zoom dancing which isn't great for the body. We rebuilt stamina for jumping and really moving in space again. This summer, it was just fun and maintenance for the company and lots of training for our student dancers. We go back to our normal fall schedule mid-August too,” Puder said.
As Avant Chamber Ballet anticipates its 2021-2022 season, Puder remembers the lessons of the pandemic.
“I think it made me reassess what we were doing for our community. Yes, we produce wonderful ticketed performances in the Arts District but more can we do for all of Dallas? We are really expanding our free classes and performances plus more plans on the horizon,” Puder said. “Dance and creative movement are one of our first means of expression as humans and can be such an amazing way of connecting to other people no matter our differences. That's something I want to share with everyone in Dallas.”
Avant Chamber Ballet’s 2021-2022 Season
The season starts with ACB Unplugged Oct. 29-30 at Sammons Center for the Arts. This non-traditional venue breaks down the fourth wall and is an up-close view of the dancers and pianist Mikhail Berestnev with three genres of ballet. First is Bouronville’s Napoli Act 3 - a celebration of Neapolitan life that ends with the famous joyful tarantella. Next on the program is the return of Katie Puder’s Ragtime - a romp through early American jazzy rhythms which was first performed in February 2019. Closing the program is a world premiere by Katie Puder with music by Philip Glass.
Next for the company is Paul Mejia’s The Nutcracker at Moody Performance Hall Dec. 9-12. This is Avant Chamber Ballet’s second time to present this lush, professional production with a live orchestra conducted by Brad Cawyer, the professional dancers of the ballet company, and a large children’s cast representing all of DFW from local auditions.
Next year starts with Bach, Brahms and Bartok, Feb. 11-12, 2022, at Moody Performance Hall. This evening of epic ballets features three ballets with live music. First is Brahms Trio. This famous musical trio will be performed by violinist Lauren Haseltine, pianist Mikhail Berestnev, and horn Kevin Haseltine accompanied by a lavish, romantic production with choreography by Katie Puder and costumes by Ann Boyce. Next is George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco: one of George Balanchine’s greatest masterpieces. Closing the evening is a world premiere by Katie Puder with music by Bela Bartok - a synthesis of folk music, classicism, and modernism.
To finish Avant Chamber Ballet’s season, the company presents The Legacy of Diaghilev: an exciting evening of world premieres. The program is an homage to Serge Diaghilev and his company the Ballet Russes - which changed ballet forever with groundbreaking commissions of music, score, and design in the early 1900’s. The performance will include the premiere of Fernanda Oliveira's Jeux. This ballet was described by its composer Claude Debussy as a “danced poem”. This will be Oliveira’s second work created for Avant Chamber Ballet. Also on the program is Katie Puder’s new production of Igor Stravinsky’s theatrical A Soldier’s Tale - a dramatic collaboration between the dancers, MAKE Trio, and a narrator.
Learn more: http://avantchamberballet.org/