Director’s Choice is now on sale!

Featured | OB News | OB School News
Director’s Choice is now on sale!

ORLANDO, FLJanuary 12, 2023 – What could be considered a balletpalooza, Orlando Ballet will host Director’s Choice the weekend of March 23-26, providing a unique opportunity for audiences to experience a little bit of everything in dance. Artistic Director Jorden Morris’ curated program highlights innovative choreographic and dance talent, showcasing the work of emerging artists with true star power.


The program, which includes traditional and contemporary productions, features work by two young choreographers andperformances by some of Orlando Ballet School’s Second Company, all in the wonderfully intimate setting at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre, the ballet’s official home.


“This is an extremely special part of the performance season as we present a lovely blend of choreographic vision and artistic perspective in both contemporary and traditional forms,” Morris said. “It’s a lovely and up-close experience for the audience; it’s just so very good.”


The program includes:


This is an iconic ballet known for its plot twists and turns. First performed in 1846 in Paris the story takes place during Napoleon’s occupation in Spain where the ballet’s heroine, Paquita, saves the life of a French officer with whom she falls in love despite their social class differences. Originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier, Orlando Ballet School and Royal Ballet Alumni Director Phillip Broomhead restages classical highlights from the full-length ballet and transforms it all into a one-act extravaganza.



The title speaks volumes about its creator Natrea Blake and her impact as a young choreographer. After winning Orlando Ballet’s 2021 Dance Accelerator 2 national choreography competition, New York-based Blake was named one of five choreographers to receive the prestigious Dance/USA Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) grant for its Female Choreographers in Ballet Initiative. The initiative is supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Nominated by Orlando Ballet, Blake will premiere her long-awaited work as part of Director’s Choice.


Blake, a native of Queens, New York City, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the Juilliard School and graduated from the Fame School. She has trained at Bernice Johnson, The Ailey School, Ballet Hispanico, and Peridance. Her diverse background has provided her the opportunity to work with many choreographers including Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons, Savion Glover and MargureiteDerricks. Additionally, she has taught Contemporary, Modern and Jazz at artistic institutions including NYU, Touro College, Rutgers University, Broadway Dance Center and The Ailey School to name a few. Blake was commissioned in 2013 to choregraph a new work for Tulsa Ballet’s second company and is the co-founder/owner of LND Studio for the Arts I Westbury, New York, a dance school for inner city youth.


“We couldn’t be more thrilled to premiere Natrea’s work; she has made quite an impression on us all,” said Orlando Ballet Executive Director Cheryl Collins. “We have a very active community engagement initiative designed to expand access to ballet for all, which aligns with Natrea’s creative interests.”



Returning after last season’s hugely popular, “Confronting Genius,” which was performed in the Premiere Collection, choreographer Heath Gill has literally created his next big thing — another dynamic contemporary production that will leave audiences breathless, but still able and wanting to talk about what they’ve just seen.


“My inspirations for this stem from themes of anticipation and desire,” Gill explained.  This premiere is revealing itself to be a whimsical and ironic contemporary piece that is energetic, rooted in rhythm and lives in a slightly twisted gameshow-esqueworld.


Gill recently joined Orlando Ballet’s artistic team, Artistic Director Morris and Associate Artistic Director Lisa Thorn Vinzant as Rehearsal Director. He will work with choreography, teach class, and help stage Moulin Rouge®, The Ballet which will be performed in February 2023 at the Dr. Phillips Center.


Gill’s dance career has included many styles of dance, and his performance experience includes playing trumpet, piano, musical theatre, and film. Straight out of high school, he began a distinguished career with Atlanta Ballet performing their varied classical ballet and contemporary repertoire. During his 10 years there, he performed in works by renowned choreographers such as John McFall, Jorden Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, James Kudelka, Twyla Tharp, David Bintley, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Jorma Elo, Val Caniparoli, Helen Pickett, Liam Scarlett, Jiri Kylian, Alex Eckman, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Michael Pink, and Ohad Naharin. A few of his critically acclaimed roles include Mercutio in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, 1st Seminarian in David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, Kilroy in Helen Pickett’s Camino Real, and the Improv Soloist in OhadNaharin’s Minus 16. Gill has been recognized for his dancing as one of ArtsATL’s “30 under 30” and Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” Through his many created works for Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi and as Resident Choreographer for Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, he has also become a prominent choreographer in Atlanta.  Notable works for TMBT include LORE, Horizons, In the Fallout, and Marley Was Dead, To Begin With (recognized by ArtsATL as Atlanta’s Best Dance Production of 2020). Behind the scenes, Gill served as TMBT’s Production Director helping facilitate the bringing to life of each new Terminus performance or idea.  Daily, Heath continues cultivating his athleticism, artistry, curiosity, and choreographic voice.




Thursday, March 23, 2023: 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 24, 2023: 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 25, 2023: 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 26, 2023: 2:00 p.m.


Tickets start at $29

Purchase tickets:

Online: orlandoballet.org
By phone: 407.418.9828. Ticket fees included in online and phone transactions.
Groups of 10 or more receive up to 25% off:  Call (407) 203-3735.


*Prices, titles, dates, times, locations and cast are subject to change at any time without notice.

Related Links