Dancing With The South Bay Stars

Liliom_scfta
Courtesy of TCAF

February 15, 2014 – The Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation to presented its annual Dancing with the South Bay Stars III on Saturday, February 15 at 8 p.m.

The event paired local ‘celebrities’ with professional dancers in a competition to raise funds for the Foundation and the participants’ favorite nonprofit organizations. This season, nine of the South Bay’s brightest stars slipped on their dancing shoes, took the stage and showed their skills!

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For the third consecutive year, I was asked to dance in the Torrance Foundation fundraiser. This year, I was partnered with Amanda Toney, a lovely, energetic and talented young lady. We performed well and based on the judge’s marks (and audience voting) we scored a 3-way tie for First place. However, after a final “dance off” we garnered a final result of 3rd place (boo-boo!). All in all, it was good fun for a great cause.

Liliom Premieres at Segerstrom Center

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Courtesy of SCFTA

February 7, 2014 – Following the tremendous success of The Little Mermaid, Segerstrom Center is proud to welcome the return of John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballett with the American Premiere of Liliom. A superb storyteller, Neumeier applies his singular vision to Liliom, the 1909 play made famous by the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel. With an original score by Oscar® winner Michel Legrand, Neumeier’s adaptation is more poignant than ever.

The story is about Liliom, a carousel barker who falls in love with Julie. Liliom loses his job and begins mistreating Julie out of bitterness, though he loves her. Julie discovers she is pregnant and Liliom plans a robbery to help provide for their child. The robbery is botched and Liliom kills himself to avoid capture. Years later, he is allowed to return to Earth for one day to perform a good deed. The romance between Liliom and Julie is timeless.

The ballet is wonderfully choreographed. Neumeier has captured our hearts and imagination by incorporating large crowd scenes, around the carousel and beautiful backgrounds, as well as the quiet, romantic moments between the lead characters, who move with passion and energy throughout the story.

Royal New Zealand Ballet presents “Giselle”

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Photograph: Ross Brown,
courtesy of The Music Center

February 1, 2014 – The North American Premiere of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Gillian Murphy, RNZB Principal Guest Artist and star of American Ballet Theatre, danced Giselle, one of the most dramatic roles in the classical ballet repertoire.

Disguise and revelation, love and jealousy combine in this tragic tale. A love story unfolds against the ghostly backdrop of a Rhineland forest haunted by the fearful presence of the “Wilis” – vengeful spirits of abandoned brides. The beautiful peasant girl, Giselle, falls for Albrecht who conceals his identity to win her. The discovery of her lover’s deception shatters Giselle’s innocence and causes her to die of a broken heart. Albrecht is thrown into the hands of the merciless Wilis, but Giselle cannot bear to watch him die and returns as a ghost to save him.

Artistic director Ethan Stiefel and principal dancer Johan Kobborg have teamed-up to create a New “Giselle”. The new production delighted audiences with its large pit orchestra delivering brighter music, costuming was true and realistic to the period and dancers moved across the stage with great skill and beauty. Though considered one of the most difficult classical ballets, the Royal New Zealand Ballet performed flawlessly and was well received by generous applause and a final ovation from the audience. A fine performance indeed!