Cincinnati Ballet’s Kaplan New Works series in Tenth Season

New Works, New Venue, New Collaboration and New Dancers

Download the 1415 New Works Press Release

The 2014-2015 Season brings a handful of new things to Cincinnati Ballet: the tenth annual production of season opener The Kaplan New Works Series, September 11-21; the transition to New Works performances in a new space, the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center for the Arts; a collaboration between returning choreographer Heather Britt and Vocal Arts Ensemble; a special, stand-alone piece, in keeping with New Works’ dedication to innovation, to be created, produced and performed by Elementz hip-hop studio; and adding four new dancers to the company’s roster, bringing the total to 26 dancers.

New Works is poised to continue the self-made tradition of innovation and celebration, debuting four world premieres by choreographers including Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Victoria Morgan; Jennifer Archibald, founder and artistic director of Arch Dance Company in New York City; Cincinnati-based Heather Britt, founder of the wildly-popular DANCEFIX (formerly Rhythm & Motion) returns to choreograph for a sixth season; Amy Seiwert, returning to Cincinnati Ballet’s New Works for the second time in three seasons; and a Cincinnati premiere by William Whitener, former Kansas City Ballet artistic director and coach for the  world premiere full-length ballet King Arthur’s Camelot.

In addition to her new choreography for New Works itself, Archibald, a graduate of the renowned Alvin Ailey School in New York City, is creating a piece specifically for CBII (Cincinnati Ballet Second Company) to perform at Zoofari, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ annual fundraiser. Britt has commissioned frequent collaborator Gabriel Gaffney Smith to once again compose new music for her piece, to be sung in accompaniment on stage by Cincinnati’s own Vocal Arts Ensemble. Whitener has enlisted the talents of Cincinnati Opera’s director of artistic operations and accomplished pianist, Marcus Kuchle, to perform live with the dancers. New Works has prominently featured female choreographers in recent years, spotlighting the underrepresentation by women in creative roles within ballet companies nationally and internationally.

Founded under the philosophy of fostering the future of ballet and dance, New Works has been historically performed at the Cincinnati Ballet Center since 2005, a year after the building’s renovation. In the passing time, New Works has seen attendance numbers sky rocket, and regularly sells out performances. The Mickey Jarson Kaplan Performance Studio seats 252 people, while the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center seats 341, offering the chance for more people to see more performances.

“We’re excited for more people to see New Works. It’s a great opportunity for casual ballet admirers to have their perspective transformed by the physicality of dance—you see the sweat, the passion and the drive that goes into ballet when you see dancers up close and personal, and that’s one reason New Works is so intriguing and popular,” says Morgan.

In the spirit of collaboration, Cincinnati Ballet has invited local hip-hop studio Elementz to choreograph and perform their own piece at New Works, creating a unique juxtaposition of top ballet dancers performing in the same arena as Cincinnati’s number one hip-hop company. Cincinnati Ballet last enlisted the talents of Elementz resident choreographer Derrek Burbridge during the creation of King Arthur’s Camelot, to bring “fluidity and an edge” says Morgan, to the character of the villain Mordred.

Elementz, founded in 2001, operates under the principle of using hip-hop to help inner-city youth find their creative voices and provide an outlet for that creativity, while encouraging personal growth and life successes. Elementz is led by executive director Tom Kent, creative director Abdullah Powell and a dedicated staff of creative professionals.

Four new dancers join Cincinnati Ballet’s roster: Yosvani Ramos, from Camagüey, Cuba, most recently danced for The Australian Ballet as a principal artist, and comes to Cincinnati Ballet as a Principal Dancer; Christina LaForgia joins as a Corps de Ballet dancer, formerly of North Carolina Dance Theater; Melissa Gelfin starts as a New Dancer, most recently dancing with Orlando Ballet; and Jake Casey comes to Cincinnati Ballet as an Apprentice, most recently dancing with Ballet Idaho.

“We’re excited to welcome these dancers to our company,” says Artistic Associate Johanna Bernstein-Wilt. “They possess the right qualities that define Cincinnati Ballet’s evolving excellence and presentation of dancers that will help move our art form into the next century.”

Entering new positions are Romel Frometa, who has been promoted from Soloist to Senior Soloist; Chris Lingner, who has been promoted from New Dancer to Corps de Ballet dancer; Ana Gallardo, who has been promoted from Apprentice to New Dancer; and Samantha Nagy-Chow, Daniel Powers and Khris Santos, who have all been promoted from CBII dancers to Apprentices for the 2014-2015 Season.

Cincinnati Ballet is pleased to offer Meet the Artists, a pre-performance discussion series where you will have the opportunity to meet select dancers, choreographers and members of the creative team who bring New Works to life. For admission, please present your ticket to the current production.

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