More on California Ballet History

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We have been approached by numerous people who are concerned about having missed the opportunity to donate to our Season 43 Fundraiser. Due to the unexpected outpouring of enthusiastic support, we have extended the fundraiser one week! We would not have done this without the sudden, exciting, and humbling display of support that we’ve gotten from you, our community! So any donations received on or before April 20, 2010 will be counted towards our Season 43 Fundraiser.

The current tally is:

$32,940

Now, a little more about the history of California Ballet Company:

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In our last post we left off with in 1971, with the premiere of California Ballet’s full-length The Nutcracker. This was a momentous occasion for the fledgling company. Producing a full-length ballet catapulted California Ballet into the position of being San Diego’s premiere ballet company!

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Well, now the Company was truly on a roll! The following year, 1972, California Ballet received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a new demi-ballet, Debits and Credits, as well as an all-new, full-length Coppelia (which would premiere the following season).

To kick things up another notch, The Nutcracker moved into the San Diego Civic Theatre for the first time, becoming the resident Nutcracker, and still is to this day!

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1972 was also a momentous year in that it was the first complete academic year for the California Ballet School! This accomplishment laid a strong and ultimately necessary foundation for the Company. With a school running year-round, a student body consistently growing, and graduates soon coming out of the school, California Ballet was accomplishing something that all major companies eventually do: training their future professional company dancers!

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With the director, choreographers, principal and senior dancers teaching the classes, California Ballet Company soon developed its own clean, unique, and comprehensive style of ballet as the students joined the ranks of the corps de ballet.

 

In 1973, California Ballet did something that many companies seem hesitant to do: they opened their arms to andiscoverdanceyone and everyone who might be interested in ballet. This was done by producing a ballet festival called Discovering Dance. It encompassed four weeks with four different programs at the North Park Theater. It was an opportunity for the company to introduce ballet to a new clientele, while still providing quality performances for well-established patrons. The California Ballet Company has always been known as being open and available to everyone, not just the elite.

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Another milestone for the company in 1973 was the appointment of Charles Bennet as the Artistic Advisor to California Ballet – beginning a relationship that would span the next few decades, and a handful of ballets!

The years continued on in the same meteoric fashion as the first five! Ms. Mahon served as a ballet ambassador to Romania in 1975, the school continued to expand by opening branches across the county, company members received honors and California Ballet choreography received gold in international competitions, and California Ballet School students started being hired by professional companies across the country, from New York City Ballet to the Joffrey Ballet.

 

zirra The Company continued to draw international artists by the handful. Marius Zirra of Romania became the CBC Ballet Master in 1978. Francis Sinceretti of Germany guest starred in the 1981 production of Giselle. spirescuRomanian journalist Nicolae Spirescu joined the CBC staff in 1982 as a cultural exchange. The list goes on and on! The California Ballet Company found itself on the international scene with a regularity that rivaled most major companies, culminating in the major cultural exchange in 1989 with the Soviet Union!

This is just another brief segment of the company’s history. Forty-two years is just too much to put into one or two blog entries, so be sure to come back for more California Ballet History!

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Also, be sure you don’t miss our Chopin Tribute on May 1, 2010 at 2:30pm and 8:00pm! All of the information is available in the Chopin Tribute press release under the pages section of our sidebar.

-The California Ballet Staff

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