Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre (PBDT), formerly known as the Media City Ballet Company since its formation in 2001 in Burbank, brings Dance in the USA to the Ford Amphitheatre on Friday, August 17, 2012, 8:30 p.m. Known for its preservation of ballet’s aesthetic and standards of excellence created and established by the dancers and choreographers of the Ballet Russe, and for the development of new work that draws on the creative talents of contemporary choreographers and composers, PBDT has chosen to branch out from their traditional European roots, to pay homage to the American experience with an explosive dance and music retrospective.
Dance in the USA employs a compilation of works by iconic musical artists such as Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Roy Orbison, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Michael Jackson, to name a few. This exciting retrospective shows how American music influenced dance, moving from decade to decade. It starts with a Hoedown with music by Aaron Copeland, then moves to the Cakewalk with Ragtime, to the Charleston with music by Duke Ellington (a pianist will perform live on stage), to the Swing and Boogie Woogie of the ‘40s, and the twist and shouts of the 50s with music by Bill Haley and the Comets, as well as Elvis Presley and Motown. And still, onward to the 60s, with the Beat Generation and a number from Frank Sinatra (sung live by dancer/singer Chris Trousdale). Then the Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, to the Disco music of the 70s and the pop music of the 80s with music by Whitney Houston, Madonna and, of course, Michael Jackson.
This new work, a vision of PBDT’s artistic director Natasha Middleton, utilizes American music as a foundation to present the variety and evolution of dance in a style similar in manner to that of the Ballet Russe. Male dancers share equal billing with female dancers and are coached theatrically to re-enact the personality of each era. The Ballet Russe style trains dancers to fully utilize their bodies athletically and theatrically. Copland’s “Rodeo” was composed for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The choreographers’ strong connection to ballet will provide an authentic portrayal of the folk style to the audience. This association gives each dance a very sincere yet unforced quality allowing the audience to relate and appreciate the feel of the time.
The Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre Company has been around since 2001. Since then it has experienced remarkable growth and has become one of the major ballet companies in the Southern California area. Company founder and Artistic Director, Natasha Middleton, continues a family tradition in the arts. Her grandmother, Elenna Wortova, danced with the original Ballet Russe, while her father, Andrei Tremaine, was a principal dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Ballet Nacional de México. In addition, he was the Artistic Director of the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre. Throughout his career, he has coached numerous ballet stars such as Cynthia Gregory and Charles Maple. Ms. Middleton was a principal dancer with the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre and also performed with the Joffrey II in New York City. She has been teaching ballet for over twenty years and is the owner of the Media Dance Arts Center in Burbank.
Led by Natasha Middleton, today PBDT attracts first-class talent from around the world, including Armenia, Asia, Russia, and Spain, with dancers who have previously worked with such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Armenian National Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, the Kirov Opera and Ballet Company, the Korean National Ballet, and the Chicago Ballet. In addition, PBDT has worked with and developed many talented local dancers. Over 30 professional and company dancers will perform in Dance in the USA, many of whom have their own professional careers with acting, dancing, singing and choreography and can be seen dancing and acting on TV, music videos, and feature films. Featured dancers include Chris Trousdale, who also sings during the performance. Trousdale was a member of the popular boy band Dream Street and is in the new Disney show “Shake it Up” and is currently recording a dance/pop CD; Alexander Fost from “So You Think You Can Dance;” and Allan McCormick who has just come off of performing in “La Rêve” in Las Vegas as a dancer, acrobat and aerialist.
“When the audience watches this particular show, I think they are going to have a really good time going through all the eras. They’re going to be feeling how fun it has been from the rodeo days all the way through to the millennium,” explains PBDT’s artistic director Natasha Middleton.
Don’t miss Dance in the USA at the Ford Amphitheatre! Tickets are $15-$35 and $12 for full-time students with ID and children (12 and under). VIP packages start at $65 and include premium seating and a pre-performance reception. Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or (323) 461-3673. For groups of 8 or more, please call (323) 769-2147.
For a preview of the show, watch the video on You Tube at http://youtu.be/iIlRPsWgwpk.
This event is part of the Ford Amphitheatre 2012 Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. For a complete season schedule, directions to the theater and parking information, log on to www.FordTheatres.org.