.New Ballet School Dances Into The Future

The fledgling dance company struts its stuff with Summer Intensive program

Dancers from across the country have trained all month for the New Ballet Summer Intensive Showcase. Photo by Bari Lee

Some ballet companies keep their summer protégés grinding behind closed doors, but The New Ballet School is giving its students a taste of the limelight—putting them up on stage at the Hammer Theatre Center.

The showcase will be a culmination of the Summer Intensive program at New Ballet. In its second year, the competitive program has gathered 90 students between the ages 11 and 22—a quarter of whom are from out of state. The students train five days a week from 10am to 4pm for three weeks, at the end of which every dancer will have a chance to show off their talent.

“This performance is about the students,” says Dalia Rawson, founder of New Ballet. “It’s about their training and their experience on stage. So everybody dances, from the youngest student to the oldest student, and everyone’s pushing themselves.”

Students will perform an abridged version of Paquita—a romantic ballet about a Spanish gypsy girl who falls for a French nobleman—in addition to shorter, new works like Electric Sheep, choreographed by Rawson with the the fitting Silicon Valley theme of artificial intelligence in mind.

World-famous ballet dancer José Manuel Carreño coached the dancers for Paquita, which Rawson described as “the technical highlight” of the show. The hour-long retelling of the original ballet will include a well known wedding scene in its historical 19th century choreography, during which the program’s highest level dancers will take center stage.

Complementing this classical favorite is a series of contemporary pieces choreographed by the school for its summer pupils. One of them, a seven-minute piece titled Electric Sheep, is an abstract ballet inspired by an electronic score that Rawson’s brother, musician and Cola frontman Cliff Rawson, composed. “There’s a little melody in it that makes me think of reaching beyond,” Rawson says, making it the perfect score to kick off the showcase.

All month, the dancers have reached beyond their comfort zones and the upcoming show marks the climax of this rigorous effort. Rawson emphasizes that while the showcase may not be as fully developed as past New Ballet productions like The Nutcracker or Swan Lake, it’s a chance for the community to appreciate the achievements of these young dancers. “This is a chance to see the students being students,” Rawson says. “No sets, no costumes—this is purely about dancing.”

New Ballet Summer Intensive Showcase
Jul 29, 3pm, $13.50
Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose

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