BURBANK–Media City Ballet, Natasha Middleton, Artistic Director, will open the company’s Seventh Annual Season with a program entitled “Ballet Russe Remembered,” to be presented at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA on Sunday, April 27, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. The program will feature Principal and Corps Dancers from Media City Ballet. The Maple Youth Ballet, Charles Maple, Director, as will appear as a Guest Ballet Company.
The program will include: Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” from “Prince Igor” featuring Edgar Nikolyan (formerly of the Vienna State Opera and resident of Granada Hills/Northridge); and selections from Carl Maria von Weber’s “Le Spectre de la Rose” with Tyler Nelson (of Glendale) and April Mcleod (of Glendale); Alexander Glazunov’s “Raymonda” Variations featuring lead dancers Courtney Croitori (of Santa Ana) as Raymonda and Edgar Nikolyan as Jean de Brienne, along with Kristine Gregorian (of West Hollywood), Gabrielle Palmatier (of Hermosa Beach), April Mcleod, Felicia Guzman (of Reseda), Mako Doussias (of Santa Monica), Stephen Nelson (of Los Angeles), Amara Baptist (of Sunland) and Alex Frost (of Alhambra); Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sheh?r?zade” with Ellen Rosa (of Hollywood) and Arsen Serobian (of North Hollywood); and Jacques Offenbach’s “Le Can-Can” from “Ga?t? Parisienne” featuring Male Lead Alex Frost, along with Andre Speakman, Gabrielle Palmatier, Jessie Strobal, Mary Bankston, Kristine Gregorian, Amara Baptist, Felicia Guzman, April Mcleod and Nicolas M?ller (of Canyon Country). A Hungarian Czardas will be performed by lead couple, Andrea Speakman (of Burbank) and Eduardo Larios Cueto (of San Diego), along with Tina Yedgarian (of Glendale), Jessica Strobal (of Granada Hills), Ruzanna Avetisyan (of Glendale) and Mary Bankston (of Burbank); the Spanish Lead Couple will feature Megan Mendoza (of Chatsworth) and Albertossy Espinoza (of Glendale); Sarrasine Dancers will include Shannon Grant (of Los Angeles) and Robson Tadeu Freire (of Venice). The Maple Youth Ballet, based in Irvine, CA, will appear as a Guest Ballet Company performing George Balanchine’s “Valse-Fantaisie,” which features a windswept pattern of dancing in waltz rhythms, with music by Mikhail Glinka and costumes by Karinska. Charles Maple (of Long Beach) is the Director of The Maple Youth Ballet.
Later in the season, MCB will present “An Evening of Khachaturian: The Composer and His Ballets,” at the Alex Theatre on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. The program will include selections from composer Aram Khachaturian’s ballet’s “Masquerade,” “Spartacus” and “Gayaneh.” Middleton will stage “Masquerade” and Ruben Tonoyan, (Associate Director for Media City Ballet/Ballet Master/Dance Coach and resident of Glendale), will direct “Gayaneh.”
Rounding out the MCB’s Seventh Annual Season will be “The Nutcracker,” Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s perennial holiday favorite, to be performed at the Alex Theatre on Saturday, December 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. MCB’s critically-acclaimed production will be staged by Natasha Middleton, featuring award-winning dancers, magical illusions, special effects and aerialists.
Media City Ballet’s 2008 Season is sponsored in part by: The James A. Dolittle Foundation, Macy’s, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, The Alex, Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and www.dancechanneltv.com. In addition, “Ballet Russe Remembered” sponsors include: Panorama, Friday Express, Transport, www.panoramaticket.com, Pasadena Weekly and KUSC Classical FM ‘s 91.5.
All performances of Media City Ballet’s Seventh Annual Season will be held at the Alex Theatre, 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203. Tickets to individual performances are $20, $38 and $48 each and may be purchased by calling the Alex Box Office at 818-243-ALEX (2539). Discounts are available for Groups of 15 or more, Seniors, Students and Children under 12. For information on Discounted Family Packs and Group Sales, please call the Alex Theatre at 818-243-7700, ext. 216.
Natasha Middleton (Artistic Director/Choreographer, Media City Ballet) danced as a Prima Ballerina with the Pacific Ballet Theatre and was a member of the Joffrey II Ballet Company in New York City, before taking on the responsibilities of Artistic Director of Burbank-based Media City Ballet. Her grandmother, Elena Wortova, was a Soloist in the original Ballet Russe, which included other legendary dancers like George Balanchine, and Vaslav Nijinsky. Middleton’s father, Andrei Tremaine, was a Principal Dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Natasha Middleton studied under the direction of her father and one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s original ballerinas, Alexandra Baldina Kozlov, David Howard, Patricia Standard in Los Angeles, Rosella Hightower in France, and Stella Mann in London.
Middleton joined her father’s company, the Pacific Ballet Theatre in 1981, where she danced roles as the Arabian in “The Nutcracker,” Raymonda in “Raymonda,” Phygria in “Spartacus,” the title role in “Carmen.” In 1985 Middleton was in a near fatal automobile accident that left her paralyzed in her left arm and leg. Though she has made a remarkable recovery, she was forced to hang up her pointe shoes. Since then she has devoted her talents to teaching and choreographing. Her choreography has been seen on Broadway (“Eye of the Beholder ‘s The Chic Corea Elektric Band”), television (“Heart’s Affire” with John Ritter and the A&E television special, “Portrait of a Super Model ‘s Naomi Campbell”), music film (Bette Midler in the music video, “Night and Day” for VH1) and in music videos for Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac), to name a few.
As the Artistic Director of Media City Ballet Company she has staged the “Le Corsaire” Pas de Deux, the “Carmen” Pas de Deux and the “Romeo and Juliet” Pas de Deux, as well as the contemporary ballets, “Life,” “The Magical Gift,” an original ballet about Christmas in England in 1880 and annual productions of “The Nutcracker.” In addition, she has choreographed numerous Spanish-themed programs for Media City Ballet, and a special program entitled, “The Men of the Ballet Russe.” She will soon choreograph an independent film to be announced in the near future. Middleton is also the Owner/Director of the Media Dance Centre, located in the Media Village in Burbank.
Charles Maple (Director, The Maple Youth Ballet) began his training with Evelyn LeMone, the founder of Pasadena Dance Theatre. He continued his studies with Andrei Tremaine and Stanley Holden until 1972 when he received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet. At the age of 19 he joined American Ballet Theatre and rapidly rose through the ran’s to become a Featured Soloist. In 1979 he made numerous guest appearances with the National Ballet of Mexico and danced the leading roles in “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Les Sylphides” and “La Fille Mal Gardee.” In 1983, Maple became a Principal Dancer with the Basel Ballet of Switzerland. His association with this company gave him the opportunity to dance in the works of Europe and America’s most influential choreographers. He has appeared as a Guest Artist throughout the United States, in Europe, Mexico, and South Africa.
In 1992, Maple began creating his own works. He has since received a steady stream of commissions, awards and a growing reputation as a freelance choreographer. Companies in Regional Dance America have presented several of his works. Two of his works for Rosella Hightower’s Ballet La Jeunesse were presented with top awards at the 1992 La Baule Festival in France. In 1993, he attended the Tokyo International Choreographers Competition where his works received international recognition and critical acclaim. In 1993, Maple’s “The Angel of the Abyss” was created to open the televised Posada Aids Procession in Los Angeles, CA.
In 1995, Maple’s new version of “La Fille Mal Gardee” for Pasadena Dance Theatre opened to rave reviews. In 1997, he created a new version of “The Nutcracker” for Black Hills Dance Theatre and Symphony. His work “Latcho Drom” was selected by Regional Dance America to be shown at the 1998 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Maple has set numerous works for American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive programs. His choreography represents a diversity of dance styles that are firmly rooted in the traditions of classical ballet. He is currently the resident choreographer for the South Bay Ballet.
In 1994 and 1995, Maple directed Pasadena Dance Theatre. He then founded Charles Maple and Dancers to concentrate on developing his own creations. He has been an active advocate for Regional Dance America <http://www.regional-dance-america.org/>. Maple has served as an adjudicator as well as a faculty member at numerous RDA Festivals. He has also acted as the Artistic Coordinator for the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive programs in Alabama and California <http://abt.org/education/summerintensive.asp>. He is Co-Founder of American Ballet Intensives <http://americanballetintensives.com/>, a rigorous ballet workshop that provides serious students the opportunity to study with professionals in the field. He currently serves as Director of The Maple Youth Ballet, based in Irvine, CA. This program of “Ballet Russe Remembered” marks his first production affiliation with Media City Ballet.
Now celebrating its Seventh Annual Season under the guidance of Artistic Director Natasha Middleton, The Media City Ballet Company is dedicated to providing Los Angeles and the surrounding communities with quality live ballet productions, utilizing the inspired and creative talents of the local community, as well as professionals from around the world. MCBC is the only ballet company in Los Angeles presenting performances in the tradition and philosophy of the legendary Ballet Russe de Serge Diaghilev. Natasha Middleton’s grandmother, Elena Wortova, was a Soloist in the original Ballet Russe, which included other legendary dancers like Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine, Alexandra Danilova and Vaslav Nijinsky. Middleton’s father, Andrei Tremaine, was a Principal Dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and Soloist with the Ballet Nacional de Mexico and the Colon Opera Ballet of Buenos Aires. Natasha Middleton, a “Ballet Russe Baby,” was a Principal Dancer for her father’s ballet company, Pacific Ballet Theatre, as well as a member of the Joffrey II Ballet Company in New York City, before taking on the responsibilities of Artistic Director for Media City Ballet Company. A Junior Company trains young dancers, and prepares them for the organization’s professional company. MCBC is overseen by a distinguished Board of Directors and supported by a Guild whose chief mission is to support the ballet company and produce fund-raising activities.