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Sneak Preview of Spring Season at Tsai

Boston Ballet’s Dance Spotlight brings cutting-edge choreography to BU

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Whitney Jensen, Bo Busby, and Jeffrey Cirio perform in Plan to B. Photo by Gene Schiavone

Contemporary choreography will take center stage when the Boston Ballet comes to BU’s Tsai Performance Center February 22 for the annual Dance Spotlight, sponsored by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

The evening, moderated by Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen and ballet master Anthony Randazzo, features a preview of the company’s spring season and includes excerpts from William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, Helen Pickett’s Tsukiyo, and Boston Ballet resident choreographer Jorma Elo’s Plan to B. The Forsythe piece is a Boston Ballet premiere. A question-and-answer session with Nissinen and Randazzo will follow the preview.

The choreography in this year’s Dance Spotlight offers a modern take on classical ballet, with the pieces characterized by constant and impressive movement.

The Second Detail’s choreography “is very electronically based, and it’s terribly hip for being 20 years old,” says Randazzo. “It’s definitely contemporary.”

Randazzo is passionate about bringing these shows to students because “they represent the city, what the company has to offer, and they are relevant for generations today. It shows the boundaries of contemporary ballet today.”

This is the sixth year the Boston Ballet has given a free preview performance at BU in collaboration with the Gotlieb Center. The Dance Spotlight series consistently focuses on contemporary ballet. The first performance at BU was an art deco version of Cinderella, set in the 1920s.

The company comes back year after year to participate in the shows, Randazzo says, because they enjoy the energy the students bring to the performances. Over the years more than 2,500 BU students have attended the spring preview performances; last year’s performance attracted 450 students.

“We wanted to get a younger audience to come to the ballet and get them to see behind the scenes,” says Vita Paladino (MET’79, SSW’93), Gotlieb Center director. “The spotlight also gives students a chance to see a first-rate ballet where they go to school and the opportunity to ask questions of the company when they might not have that at home.”

For its part, Boston Ballet hopes to attract a new audience for its work. “I hope we ignite a spark in the hearts and minds of people there and get them curious about what we do,” Randazzo says. “It’s a way of reaching out and inviting new people into our family.”

The Boston Ballet Dance Spotlight preview performance is Tuesday, February 22, at 7 p.m., at the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave.; it is free and open to the public.

The Boston Ballet’s spring season runs from March through May. Call the box office, 617-695-6950, for more information. Discounted tickets are available for $20 with a valid BU student ID.

Allison Thomasseau can be reached at althoma@bu.edu.

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