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Fathers of dance

Media City Ballet creates an evening of dance in honor of 'The Men of the Ballet Russes.'

June 02, 2007|By Joyce Rudolph

The choreography consists of quick high jumps and turns in the air that are very challenging, said Tyler Nelson, who portrays one of four warriors in the dance.

"It's very aerobic and physically very exhausting," he said. "We are trying to portray a warrior's primal quality. This is a recreation of Michel Fokine's original choreography. He had a very grand style. All the movements and mannerisms are very big."

The Ballet Russe style broke many of the rules of classical ballet, he said.

"It was the first style that went outside the box," he said. "Natasha and Ruben have to be well versed in the Ballet Russe style when they are teaching it to us. It's a style you don't teach in ballet class."

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Middleton has been videotaping interviews with former Ballet Russe dancers, and the clips will be shown along with vintage footage of their performances during the show.

"When I was able to pull a lot of these men together and given the opportunity to film them, it was inspiring to hear them speaking from the heart about what it was like back then," she said. "I want to share this with the public."

Those attending the event will be Tremaine, George Zoritch, Marc Platt, Victor Moreno and Paul Maure. At the end of the evening, they will have a curtain call and receive awards for their lifetime contributions to the arts, Middleton said.

The reunion of these special men is a way to keep the arts alive in Los Angeles, Middleton said.

"It's my way of saying to sister dance companies, we're here and there are more to come and this is where we come from," she said.

Adding to the nostalgia, the event is being held at the Wilshire Ebell, instead of the Burbank-based company's regular venue, Glendale's Alex Theatre.

"After they went on with their careers, many of the former Ballet Russe dancers danced one time or another at the Wilshire Ebell," Middleton said.

FYI

WHAT: Media City Ballet’s tribute to “The Men of the Ballet Russes”

WHEN: 7 p.m. June 9

WHERE: Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. 8th St., Los Angeles

TICKETS: $35 to $70, reception is $50

CONTACT: (866) 215-1026

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