ORLANDO, FL – April 28, 2023 – Orlando Ballet will be celebrating its 50th year with a bold and uplifting season that includes an entirely new production of The Nutcracker along with productions and performances never before seen in Central Florida.
“There is so much to celebrate and enjoy this coming season. We are all about showcasing our humble beginnings to how we stand today as a nationally respected professional dance company,” said Executive Director Cheryl Collins. “Orlando Ballet has come such a long way and we want to thank our community for its long-term and unwavering support.”
As part of the anniversary, Orlando Ballet leadership asked Artistic Director Jorden Morris to create a new production of The Nutcracker, a project Morris has been working on for nearly three years. Supported by a team of world-renowned set and costume designers, the production will premiere with a fresh new approach while preserving all the beloved traditions.
Morris also curated an uplifting season that mixes the elegance of classical ballet with innovative and lavish dance programs that include George Balanchine’s elegantly classic Serenade and eye-popping drama from Kenneth Tindall and his lush Casanova.
“It’s certainly a special time for Orlando Ballet so I chose truly brilliant artists and beloved productions as well as some that have never been seen here in Central Florida and which will be memorable,” Morris said. “Everyone is in for a really grand experience, which is what ballet should be.”
Orlando Ballet’s 2023-2024 Season
Reflections: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
Paul Taylor’s “Company B” & Balanchine® Ballet: Serenade
September 21-24, 2023
Reflections is a celebratory launch of Orlando Ballet’s 50th season and offer a look back as well as ahead in terms of how the organization evolved from its very humble start to becoming one of Central Florida’s leading performing arts organizations. We begin with the premiere of our own anniversary film that tells a story about love for the art form and the risk-taking that helped build the organization, including missteps and victories that occurred along the way. We’ve harvested conversations from many of the talented artists and community leaders who were involved from the beginning while we celebrate today’s highly respected professional dance company. In honor of this milestone, Artistic Director Jorden Morris has curated a sophisticated season that doesn’t just challenge his dancers but gifts the audience with new productions never before performed or seen in Orlando.
“Company B”: Paul Taylor
Iconic ballets earn that distinction by being innovative, timeless, and for always stirring a range of emotions. While dramatically different artists, choreographers Paul Taylor and George Balanchine define iconic ballet through their artistic creativity, influence, and endurance.
Set during World War II, Juilliard-trained Taylor’s wildly popular “Company B,” is a lively yet poignant representation of good, old-fashioned American optimism set against the stark and painful realities of war. Taylor’s self-described modern “dance scribbling” and avant-garde style are fittingly supported by a musical backdrop by The Andrews Sisters, whose recognizable songs carry the audience and dancers through a journey of love and loss. Taylor’s masterful choreography balanced by simple, subtle sets and costumes, makes for a mesmerizing dance experience for all.
Balanchine® Ballet: Serenade
Russian-born George Balanchine’s universally beloved “Serenade,” presents elegance and highly structured movement fostered by the choreographer’s renowned musicality. “Serenade”, which includes 28 dancers in gauzy blue attire, performing four unique movements before a minimalistic backdrop of blue, has no plot. Rather, this ballet thrives emotionally and visually on the choreographer’s preference for precision and graceful movement inspired by Balanchine’s affection for all things Tchaikovsky. Balanchine is said to have been influenced by Tchaikovsky’s lush and hypnotizing “Serenade for Strings in C, Op.48,” setting the framework for his textured, thrilling variations that create an intoxicating experience of pure dance. Artistic Director Jorden Morris notes that the performance’s conclusion of a woman being lifted off the stage toward the light serves as a quiet nod to Orlando Ballet’s next 50 seasons.
WORLD PREMIERE: The Nutcracker
Created by Jorden Morris, Artistic Director, Orlando Ballet
December 8-24, 2023
Like young Clara, Artistic Director Jorden Morris dreams big as all will see when Orlando Ballet premieres this entirely new production of The Nutcracker. Supported by an elite dream team of designers of sets, costumes, and lighting, this production is a wonderfully imaginative version of the world’s most beloved holiday tale. Staying true to the traditional story of a young girl’s love of her favorite Christmas gift bestowed by the town’s toymaker, Morris pairs Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic score with entirely new choreography, to create a fresh and whimsical experience complete with giant snow globes, fancy mice, and high-flying surprises.
Morris spent three years reimagining the production, beginning his monumental task by structuring a creative team of world-renowned designers. Joined by Orlando Ballet’s Assistant Artistic Director Lisa Thorn Vinzant; Robert Perdziola, Set/Costume Designer, and Lighting Designer Joseph Walls, Morris’ wildest dreams come to life on stage for everyone to enjoy.
“The Nutcracker is universally beloved, so we all understood our responsibility to protect the story, and, of course, the music. Having this special team of creative and enthusiastic experts share in revisioning all the tradition and charm of this classic, in a new and innovative way, is a choreographer’s dream,” said Morris.
CHRISTOPHER STOWELL’S The Sleeping Beauty
February 15-18, 2024
One kiss — that’s all it took to awaken Princess Aurora from her century-long slumber and to meet her handsome Prince Desire. The Sleeping Beauty is timeless and cherished, which is why choreographer Christopher Stowell chose to retell through dance one of the world’s favorite fairy tales. Stowell’s choreography, which is based on the original by Marius Petipa, has a human touch that ushers the audience to a happy ending after its journey through good versus evil and love conquering over revenge. Stowell’s dance is calibrated precisely with the lush and sweeping music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
But no one should be fooled by the ballet’s gentle title – The Sleeping Beauty is known for its challenging choreography as exemplified by the famous and difficult Rose Adagio, when on her 16th birthday, Princess Aurora slowly and gracefully dances among four suitors, creating one of the ballet’s most anticipated, and yes, iconic moments.
Stowell, the son of professional ballet dancers blends his experience, knowledge, tradition, and grace to make this story undeniably feel new and fresh each and every time.
Heath Gill World Premiere
Stephanie Martinez’s “Dos Lados”
Jorden Morris’ “Deverell”
March 28-31, 2024
Mixed repertory is a high point because the artistic director has chosen shorter programs offering something for everyone. The production begins with a world premiere by Orlando Ballet’s Rehearsal Director Heath Gill who is known for his “Confronting Genius” and “The Next Big Thing” creations. Gill’s ability to captivate audiences by fusing classical and contemporary dance has established him as one of the country’s most exciting young choreographers.
Stephanie Martinez’s “Dos Lados”, is a powerful, 13-person ensemble that performs to Spanish guitar in exploration of the idea of duality. Martinez, founder, and artistic director of PARA.MAR Dance Theatre in Chicago, is recognized for its focus on diversity and for connecting the energy of her contemporary choreography with the audience. This is a premiere performance in Central Florida. Martinez has created more than 60 ballets for companies including Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Kansas City Ballet.
The production closes with “Deverell”, another of Jorden Morris’ dynamic creations which premiered in 2005 in his native Canada and now in Central Florida. Deverell is Gaelic for “on the riverbank” and is one of his most popular works. Morris describes this as his version of Riverdance and an ode to his own Celtic roots.
KENNETH TINDALL’S CASANOVA – Orlando Premiere
May 16-19, 2024
Giacomo Casanova is arguably the world’s most legendary womanizer, but he was also an intellect, a gambler, and a scofflaw – all the right character traits around which to design a lusty ballet, which is exactly what choreographer Kenneth Tindall has done. Tindall, a former principal dancer is a Freelance award-winning Choreographer and Director specializing in Narrative Dance. His Casanova offers a larger-than-life ballet experience like none other thanks to opulent dance underscored by sexual tension generated by composer Kerry Muzzey’s attention-grabbing music. Guest Conductor Julian Pellicano returns to lead Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra through this production’s live music performances.
Set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, Tindall’s lavish vision includes iconic Venetian masquerades, period costumes, and sets along with big, big choreography that tells the story of how Casanova’s plans for a career in Holy Orders got derailed by his own decadence.
Created in the UK, this award-winning production has not been seen in North America, but its tour here is made possible through a collaboration between Orlando Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. Says Artistic Director Jorden Morris, “This is the future of making big, expensive, lavish ballets more accessible to the public as a compliment to the standard classics already available.”
UNCORKED | Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre
Thursdays October 5, 2023, January 25, 2024 , May 2, 2024
The ever-popular Uncorked series now on Thursday nights returns offering audiences up-close visits with the Orlando Ballet dancers and the artistic leadership in a not-so-sneak peek behind the curtain. These informal events have acquired a major fan following because they demystify ballet, and offer a glimpse into what is required and expected of professional dancers and choreographers while also offering a personal way for the dancers to connect with their fans.
Standard admission tickets start at $30, and drinks are available for purchase. Uncorked takes place on Thursday nights.
The 2023-24 season tickets go on sale to current subscribers on Friday, April 28th and to the general public beginning on Monday, May 1st. New and current subscribers can renew by visiting OrlandoBallet.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 407.418.9828 to reserve their subscription. All dates, times, and titles are subject to change. Final seating will be determined closer to production. Subscribers are encouraged to renew by May 31st to keep their existing seats.
ABOUT ORLANDO BALLET:
Founded in 1974, Orlando Ballet is Central Florida’s only fully residential professional ballet company. Orlando Ballet produces year-round main stage productions at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre, featuring timeless masterpieces and innovative contemporary world premieres, achieving the highest level of professionalism and artistic excellence. Orlando Ballet promotes dance education through community enrichment programs, performance lecture demonstrations, the renowned Orlando Ballet School, and Orlando Ballet II, a second pre-professional company to train and support dancers as they approach the start of their dance careers. For information about Orlando Ballet, please visit our website at OrlandoBallet.org.