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American Repertory Ballet Announces "Viva Spring", featuring Gerald Arpino’s "Viva Vivaldi" and a brand new "Rite of Spring", at South Orange Performing Arts Center

Credits: Peter C. Cook
Credits: Leighton Chen

American Repertory Ballet will make its debut at South Orange Performing Arts Center on April 5, 2013 at 8:00pm with its Viva Spring program.  The evening will feature ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin’s brand new Rite of Spring, famed Joffrey Ballet choreographer Gerald Arpino’s Viva Vivaldi, and contemporary dance choreographer Patrick Corbin’s new work, Caress.  These works span classical and contemporary movement and music, presenting a range of styles to appeal to a variety of tastes.

The original Rite of Spring ballet, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, was performed in Paris in 1913 by the Ballets Russes.  This premiere was very controversial, as audiences reacted strongly to the ballet’s themes of pagan ritual and sacrifice and to the music - Igor Stravinsky’s avant garde, driving score.  Douglas Martin’s Rite of Spring maintains the original ballet’s libretto, a celebratory ode to spring and a statement on the theme of ritualistic behavior and sacrifice, and sets it in a modern, 20th century office setting.  “Having learned and performed that version dozens of times I feel that the ballet and the music is a part of me,” says Martin.  He was a cast member of the Joffrey Ballet’s historic 1987 reconstruction of Nijinsky’s original 1913 version.  Martin’s new version for ARB will premiere March 23 at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College.  Viva Spring at SOPAC will be ARB’s second performance of this exciting new work.
Arpino’s Viva Vivaldi is a charming, quick-footed ballet set to Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D for Violin, Strings and Cembalo”.  Gerald Arpino co-founded the Joffrey Ballet with the company’s founding Artistic Director Robert Joffrey, and was the foremost choreographer for the company under Mr. Joffrey’s direction and served as the company’s Artistic Director from 1988 until 2007.  ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin danced many of Arpino’s works throughout his career, and this is the second major Arpino work he has chosen for the company’s repertory.  As ARB Managing Director Christine Chen remarks, “By presenting major revivals of Gerald Arpino's little-known but fabulous work, ARB demonstrates its unique voice in the world of dance, and in many ways, takes up the torch of Robert Joffrey and Arpino's vision - preserving their legacy here on the east coast after the Joffrey Ballet relocated to Chicago.”  Robert Johnson, dance critic for The Star-Ledger, applauded ARB’s revival of Arpino’s Confetti in 2012: “Arpino clearly loved ballet’s form, not just its athleticism, although the latter is plentiful. It takes guts to dance this piece...The dancers’ courage is exhilarating, and Arpino, its under-appreciated choreographer, wins a belated round of applause.”
Patrick Corbin, one of Martin’s fellow dancers at the Joffrey Ballet, has choreographed his new work Caress on ARB dancers to composed Kate Jewel’s "8 Movements".  “My jumping off point is the moment we fall in love,” he says.  Throughout the rehearsal and creation process, Corbin generated some movement through collaborative improvisation with the dancers.  His work has a contemporary dance base with the finesse of balletic line.  Caress will premiere alongside Martin’s Rite of Spring at Raritan Valley Community College, making its appearance on the Viva Spring program at SOPAC its second performance. 

Viva Spring at South Orange Performing Arts Center
April 5, 2013 at 8:00pm
Tickets:, (973) 275-1114
About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School
American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the newly launched On Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company's rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008, 2011, and 2012.
Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non- slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment. Many of Princeton Ballet School’s faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Momix.

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