Program will include two separate performances at Portland State University’s Lincoln Performance Hall
PORTLAND — A Vancouver resident and three Camas residents will perform in The Portland Ballet’s holiday show Thanksgiving weekend.
The Portland Ballet (TPB) will present The Enchanted Toyshop, which mostly sold out last year, and Tourbillon, a celebratory new ballet by Anne Mueller.
The Portland State University Orchestra, under the direction of Ken Selden, will provide live music for both works.
Kate Southerland, 14, of Vancouver, is in 9th grade at Indiana University Online High School. She has studied ballet for 11 years, and this is her third year at The Portland Ballet, where she is in the Career Track program for pre-professionals. She has participated in summer programs at San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and The Portland Ballet. She has also trained at Columbia Dance.
Maegan Randolph, 15, of Camas, is in 10th grade at Camas High School. She has been studying ballet for 10 years, and this is her first year at The Portland Ballet, where she is in the Youth Company. She has participated in summer programs at Ballet Austin and The Portland Ballet.
Joey and Tyler Stanley, 14, of Camas, are both 9th graders at Camas High School. They are among three sets of identical twins performing in The Enchanted Toyshop, where they will be rotating in the central role of Pinocchio. They have both studied ballet for 10 years and this is their third year at The Portland Ballet. They have also studied ballet at Astoria School of Ballet and Evergreen Dance Academy.
The magic begins in The Enchanted Toyshop when two children are accidentally locked in a toyshop, and Pinocchio reigns over a parade of toys that come to life to entertain the guests.
Tourbillon has the swirling grace of a Viennese ballroom. The look is inspired by a 1950s cotillion, with colorful ball gowns, white evening gloves and elegant, jeweled crowns.
THE ENCHANTED TOYSHOP
The magic begins when two children are accidentally locked in a toyshop, and Pinocchio reigns over a parade of toys that come to life to entertain the guests. Playing cards, poodles, Pierrots, and Russian nesting dolls are all part of the fast-paced fun.
Choreographed specifically for TPB by John Clifford, Toyshop (formerly known by its French title La Boutique Fantasque) charmingly showcases various skill levels and international dance styles. Since its premiere in 2003, Toyshop has become TPB’s signature showpiece, an enduring favorite for both family audiences and academy dancers.
Clifford reorganized and added characters to the 1919 ballet that was originally choreographed by Léonide Massine and premiered by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. A Balanchine protégé and founder of Los Angeles Ballet, Clifford stages Balanchine ballets and sets his own choreography on companies around the world.
The full cast features 75 dancers and 38 musicians from all over the Portland and Vancouver areas.
Mueller’s celebratory new Tourbillon will showcase 27 advanced dancers in four pieces set to rarely heard music by Joseph Lanner, an Austrian dance composer from the early 1800s who helped spark the popularity of the waltz. He was a contemporary of Johann Strauss I and a predecessor of “The Waltz King,” Johann Strauss II.
Die Romantiker-Walzer and Hoffballtänze, which make up the opening and closing segments of the ballet, evoke the swirling grace of a Viennese ballroom. The ballet will feature two waltz sections, a galop, and a polka.
As Lanner’s music isn’t widely performed, PSU Orchestra conductor Ken Selden created orchestrations of the four selections, working from piano or string quartet scores.
For choreography, Mueller pays homage to a number of the great ballets that honor and celebrate social dance, such as Graduation Ball and The Merry Widow. She drew inspiration from the look of a 1950s cotillion, costuming the ladies in the cast in colorful ball gowns, with white evening gloves and elegant, petite, jeweled crowns.
“I’m challenging myself to use the costuming of the ballet to help give the choreography its structure,” Mueller said. “We’ll be using lovely gowns for the advanced ladies in the piece, built in sets of two or three of each color (light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, gold, and green). Rather than keeping each grouping together throughout, I’m experimenting with intermittently mixing and restoring the color groups. My hope is that this will add another layer of choreographic interest to the piece.”
THE PORTLAND BALLET
Founded in 2001, The Portland Ballet is shaped by the vision, artistic experience, and family-centered sensibility of the founding directors. Artistic Director Nancy Davis and Executive Director Jim Lane trained at the School of American Ballet and enjoyed distinguished professional careers in companies throughout the U.S. After retiring as principal dancers of the Los Angeles Ballet – where their partnership onstage led to a marriage and family off the stage – they moved to Portland, Oregon, and founded The Portland Ballet.
Artistic Director Anne Mueller joined the company in 2015 to lead TPB’s Career Track program. Anne trained with Dame Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski and came to TPB after ﬁfteen years with Oregon Ballet Theatre, where she was a principal dancer. A co-founder of Trey McIntyre Project, Anne has extensive experience in choreographing and staging works across the United States.
TPB’s Artistic Advisor John Clifford, a favored protégé of George Balanchine, works regularly with the students. Teaching approved dances from The George Balanchine Trust, Clifford provides a living connection to the most inﬂuential choreographer of modern times.
Graduates have carried TPB’s reputation for excellence into advanced dance programs and professional companies throughout the U.S. and abroad. TPB alumni have gone on to dance with Paciﬁc Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Saint Louis Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet West, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Royal Swedish Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company, Maryinsky Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and other professional companies.
Providing professionally produced performance experience has been at the core of TPB training since the company was founded in 2001. TPB continues to nurture stand-out dance talent for students ages 3-22, and many go on to professional companies and conservatory programs around the world. These performances are rare opportunities to see the next generation of dance stars.
Six concerts will be performed Nov. 24-26 at Lincoln Performance Hall at PSU, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 24-25; 1 & 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26. Tickets start at only $5 and go on sale Oct. 20. More information at theportlandballet.org or (503) 750-3157.