Joffrey Ballet anchors 2011-2012 NOBA season

June 29, 2011

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The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) launches its 2011-2012 season of dance with six exhilarating companies featuring some of the most significant and distinctive choreography today, including three New Orleans debuts and a world premiere.

NOBA returns to the Mahalia Jackson Theater of Performing Arts to present the incomparable Mark Morris Dance Group; the "startlingly imaginative" (The New York Times) Shen Wei Dance Arts; Complexions Contemporary Ballet in a NOBA-commissioned world premiere set to New Orleans jazz and honoring the careers of two of dance's most illustrious superstars, Desmond Richardson and Wendy Whelan; and the classic American ballet company, Joffrey Ballet, with a trio of works by stellar choreographers. In a continued partnership with The NOCCA Institute, NOBA presents the electrifying Jacoby & Pronk Dance Artists and the inventive Stephen Petronio Company in the intimate, beautiful Freda Lupin Memorial Hall.

The season kicks off on October 22 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater when the spellbinding dancers of the Mark Morris Dance Group return to New Orleans for the first time since 2002. The phenomenally gifted American dance icon Mark Morris celebrates 30 years of creating intensely musical, endlessly inventive and joyously exuberant dances. Hailed as the "Mozart of modern dance" (Washington Post), Morris spotlights his musical devotion by always touring with his own group of classical musicians. His long-awaited New Orleans return is no different, and his superb company brings a lush program of brand new dances and classic works set to live music.

On November 11 and 12, NOBA is honored to join The NOCCA Institute in presenting the New Orleans premiere of Jacoby & Pronk Contemporary Dance Artists at NOCCA's Freda Lupin Memorial Hall. Two of today's most extraordinary dancers, Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk are internationally renowned for performing with such companies as the Dutch National Ballet, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. In 2008, this elite duo, known for razor-sharp technique, sensual chemistry and physical beauty, launched an exciting new dance project, hand-picking international ballet stars and choreographers to join them in producing tailor-made evenings of contemporary ballet. Creating a sensation wherever they perform, Jacoby & Pronk are "breaking the ballet mold and giving it a whole new image," raves Dance Magazine.

NOBA returns to the Mahalia Jackson Theater on January 21 with the bold, sensational work of Shen Wei Dance Arts, a cross-cultural company hailed by the New York Times as "startlingly imaginative." Shen Wei Dance Arts brings a fantastical world that vividly fuses East and West by incorporating Chinese opera, Eastern philosophy, traditional and contemporary art, and dance. Led by visionary choreographer, designer, and artist Shen Wei, who created part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the company is known for "gorgeous visual imagery" (London Times). The breathtaking and poetic program includes the haunting and otherworldly masterpiece Folding, along with his newest creation.

On March 2 & 3, NOBA once again partners with The NOCCA Institute to present the Stephen Petronio Company at Lupin Hall. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Stephen Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation with an instantly recognizable style that combines fiercely kinetic movement with the most innovative collaborators from music, visual art, and fashion. His intrepid dancers move with whiplash speed and crystalline beauty. The program features Underland, a provocative work originally created for the Sydney Dance Company set to the dark, bitter-sweet songs of Australian rocker Nick Cave and City of Twist, an homage to New York City with an enigmatic commissioned score by performance art legend Laurie Anderson.

Then on April 21, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's incomparable co-founders, choreographer Dwight Rhoden and superhuman dancer Desmond Richardson, bring their sleek, daredevil company back to New Orleans with a high-voltage program at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Richardson, hailed by The New York Times as "one of the great modern dancers of his time," will be retiring from the company as a dancer this season. As a special tribute, NOBA has commissioned Rhoden to create a new duet to live New Orleans jazz for Richardson and New York City Ballet Principal dancer Wendy Whelan. This world premiere event will mark the first time these beloved American superstars have danced together in their illustrious careers.

The season closes at the Mahalia Jackson Theater on May 12 with the return of Joffrey Ballet, which donated their services in 2006 so NOBA could bring dance back to New Orleans. For more than a half-century, The Joffrey Ballet has been an American ballet treasure. Last seen in New Orleans at Dixon Hall, this sensational company returns to close the main stage season in grand style. The elegant program highlights the bold and refreshing talents of rising choreographic star Edwaard Liang with Age of Innocence, an emotionally-charged new work inspired by the social complexities of life in the era of Jane Austen. Also on the program is Jerome Robbin's enchanting romantic masterwork In the Night, a passionate ballet featuring a series of three pas de deux set to the live accompaniment of Chopin Nocturnes.

NOBA season ticket buyers save up to 20 percent off the single ticket price by purchasing a season ticket package. The Grand Plus Series package of all six events ranges from $154 to $490, while the Grand Series package, which includes all four performances at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, ranges from $68 to $424. The flexible Build-a-Series package allows season ticket holders to design their own season package and starts at $51. Discounts are also available for students with a valid ID. Single ticket prices for Mark Morris Dance Group, Shen Wei, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Joffrey Ballet are $20-$125. The single ticket price for Jacoby & Pronk Dance Artists is $65, and the single ticket price for the Stephen Petronio Company is $40.

Season tickets are currently on sale, and single tickets for NOBA events go on sale September 6. For more information on the upcoming season or to purchase season tickets, call NOBA at 504-522-0996, Ext. 201 or visit www.nobadance.com. Single tickets may be purchased by calling NOBA at 504-522-0996 or Ticketmaster at 504-522-5555; individual ticket sales are also available online at www.nobadance.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

NOBA is the Central Gulf region's premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA's dynamic Main Stage season annually features a diverse array of world-class companies and artists. Each year NOBA provides concerts, classes, workshops and lectures to more than 25,000 area dance enthusiasts of all ages. In addition, NOBA's nationally recognized award-winning education programs provide the youth of our community access to quality arts programs with over 3,000 free dance classes and workshops annually at ten sites throughout the Greater New Orleans area.

Press release from the New Orleans Ballet Association.