Huntsville Ballet’s Presentation of ‘The Firebird’ Set for This Weekend – The Madison Record
Shows dedicated to the Ukrainian people and the dancers of the Kyiv City Ballet
HUNTSVILLE — Fire Bird is a spellbinding story of heroism, magic and love for children and adults.
“The Huntsville Ballet dedicates this production to the people of Ukraine whose heroism and love for their country and their compatriots have been shown around the world,” said Phillip Otto, Artistic Director of Huntsville Ballet. “Our hearts go out to our fellow dancers at Kyiv City Ballet. We plan to accept monetary donations with each production. Funds will go directly to Kyiv City Ballet’s fundraiser dedicated to their safe haven and eventual return to the House.
The Huntsville Ballet is delighted to bring this important work to the stage. “George Balanchine’s 1949 recreation of the Bird of Fire brought international attention to a young New York City Ballet and paved the way for ballet in America,” said Otto, who himself worked and trained with Balanchine. “Balanchine strongly influenced my own creative work.”
Creation of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes Fire Bird in Paris in 1910. However, it was Balanchine’s 1949 production in collaboration with his lifelong friend and composer, Igor Stravinsky, that placed Fire Bird firmly at the base of the American ballet repertoire. It featured sets, sets and costumes by artist Marc Chagall and America’s first prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief as the Firebird. Huntsville Ballet’s production features the company’s principal dancer, Abby Callahan as the firebird. “Abby was born to dance this role,” Otto said of her performance.
Based on Russian folklore, the ballet tells the story of Prince Ivan who enters an enchanted forest to hunt. He stumbles upon the Firebird and is so mesmerized by its beauty that he spares its life. In return, the firebird gives him one of his magic feathers. Prince Ivan uses the feather to break the spell that has held the thirteen princesses imprisoned in the forest by the evil wizard Kostchei.
In addition to Callahan, the production will feature the company’s full roster of professional dancers, complemented by a cast of more than 40 pre-professionals and students from Huntsville Ballet School.
The Huntsville Ballet will also present world premieres of works by local contemporary choreographers, Gina Guerrera and Jere Hunt. Guerrera said his new job, Ti Voglio Bene”expresses raw and moving images of the heart’s longing and joy.“ Hunt’s Bell Music Dance is a playful, abstract piece in five movements inspired by the music of accomplished violinist Joshua Bell.
Timetables and ticket information
To purchase tickets, visit www.huntsvilleballet.org/tickets or call 256-970-0917.
The times are as follows: Opening night: Friday April 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 April at 2 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.; and Sunday April 10 at 1 p.m.
About the Huntsville Ballet
Guests from across Alabama and the Tennessee Valley travel to Huntsville to enjoy the artistry of Huntsville Ballet’s 10 professional dancers, complemented by the work of pre-professional and junior company members and guest artists. Audiences enjoy the art of classical ballet in performances like Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty as well as other dance genres featured in more recent works like Stage door canteen and The Tumbleweed Symphony. The annual performance of the Ballet de Nutcracker offers Huntsville Ballet School students the opportunity to audition and perform alongside the professional company. Huntsville Ballet’s performances and community outreach programs are designed to appeal to a wide audience and introduce the art of ballet to everyone, from art enthusiasts to novices. The Huntsville Ballet Company and School operates under the umbrella of the Community Ballet Association, Inc., a nonprofit member of state and local arts councils, incorporated in 1964.