San Antonio has recently gained another ballet company. It’s called Ballet Latino de San Antonio.
"This is a neo-classical company that fuses classical ballet with Latin rhythm," said Mayra Worthen, who is the founder and artistic director.
“We present the classic movement, but with the Latin flavors and music," she said. "Now, that’s not all we do, but that is the style. It’s all over the place, as far as the music goes, but most of it has the Latin rhythm to it.”
Relations between Russia and the U.S. are at one of the lowest points since the Cold War. But one man is trying to do what he can to build a bridge between the two countries, despite his own personal tragedy. Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, is in the U.S. for the first time since an assailant threw acid in his face last year, partially blinding him.
Ballet San Antonio has been taking their dancers out of the halls for public performances recently. I caught up with Ballet San Antonio's President Courtney Barker to find out where they’re headed next, which is downtown’s newly-renovated Travis Park.
“It looks incredible, they did a beautiful job,” she said about Travis Park.
I asked Barker where the dancing itself will take place.
A first-time author is coming to the San Antonio Book Festival next month, and I came to find that his back story is as fascinating as the book he’s written. Meet Mario Alberto Zambrano, whose novel-writing career began on the stage.
“I was a dancer for a very long time. I never read as a kid and I never wrote short stories…”
Being an author is Zambrano's second life, after retiring from an international career as a ballet dancer, he began writing. Surprisingly his first novel was picked up.
A ballet classic is opening soon, and Ballet San Antonio is presenting it. If you don’t know the story behind Igor Stravinsky’s "The Firebird," Ballet San Antonio President and CEO Courtney Barker explains its premise, starting with Prince Ivan.
“He goes on a journey to seek and win the heart of a princess," she said. "On his journey he meets a glowing, magical bird that protects him through the journey. And we have monsters that come out, and those are played by ten of our male dancers.”
The firebird protects our pirouetting protagonist in his search for his princess.
If you’ve been meaning to, but haven't quite got around to seeing "The Nutcracker" this year, you’ve got one more chance at the Majestic Theatre. The Moscow Ballet returns to San Antonio to perform the ballet on Monday night.
"It’s more than my job, it’s my life," said the ballet’s Natalie Miroshnyk, who is also the audition director that chose the San Antonio children who perform parts with the Moscow Ballet in the production.
"The Nutcracker" is now an American Christmas tradition, but when Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky debuted the work in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, it wasn't a success. San Antonio Symphony’s Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto explains.
"You have to understand, until Tchaikovsky came along, ballet music was just ballet music," Fujimoto said. "It wasn’t appreciated for its own good, and Tchaikovsky single-handedly did that."
Ballet San Antonio is gearing up for their move into the Tobin next year, but first, there's this season.
"We start with Ben Stevenson’s 'Cinderella' and from there we go into 'The Nutcracker' with the San Antonio Symphony," says Ballet San Antonio’s Executive Director Courtney Barker. "We’re going to be having 'Firebird,' which is an exciting ballet with some mixed repertoire of contemporary works. And then finally we’re going to be doing a free community performance at La Villita."
Francia Russell hasn't performed in 50 years, but she says as soon as she hears the music for George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, her body starts to move: "I could do it in my sleep, you know, get up and sleepwalk and do it."