On Pointe

Richmond Ballet opens 2016-2017 season with a flourish.

When the lights go down in the Richmond Ballet’s intimate third floor studio theater Tuesday, Sept. 20 for the opening of the 2016-2017 season, ticket holders will be swept into a dreamscape inspired by surrealist art.

Created by Los Angeles-based choreographer Melissa Barak, the performance will be the world premiere of this new work. “I like this concept of a strange, dreamlike world. It is going to be an abstract ballet, with a surrealist approach,” said Barak in a statement released by the ballet. “It’s theatrical without being literal.”

Formerly a dancer with the New York City Ballet, Barak is known for an athletic style of choreography, so the neo-classical ballet, which is set to Michael Nyman’s powerful “Double Concerto for Saxophone and Cello,” will feature dynamic partnering and choreographic patterns.

“We have people who really look forward to the studio series every year,” says communications director Kate Crowder. “Studio offers more contemporary works and the audience is a little closer to the stage, so it feels more like an opportunity to interact with the dancers.”

The performance also includes The Moor’s Pavane by José Limón (1949). Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s dark masterpiece Othello, its four dancers perform this story of passion and betrayal in Renaissance robes and gowns. Studio One will run through Sunday, Sept. 25.  

The rest of the season includes classics like The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus Trio, a performance with the Richmond Symphony comprising scenes from three different ballets: “Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadere by Marius Pepita, Lift the Fallen by Ma Cong and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine.   

“It’s a really exciting opportunity that we offer our audience, to see a range of what ballet can be,” says Crowder. “They’ll get really classical, contemporary and something that’s more jazzy and Broadway-based.”

To close out the season, the company will present Studio Two, including a world premiere by Katarazyna Skarpetowska and A Tribute (to Marcel Marceau & Bip) by Malcolm Burn; and Studio Three, including Tarantella by George Balanchine, Notturno by Salvatore Aiello, and a world premiere by company member Matthew Frain.

Single, season and group tickets are on sale now. For the full schedule, go to RichmondBallet.com 

Richmond Ballet 2016-2017 Schedule


Studio One Sept. 20-25, 2016 
Trio  Nov. 4-6, 2016

The Nutcracker 
Dec. 10-23, 2016

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
Feb. 10-12, 2017

Studio Two 
March 14-19, 2017

Studio Three 
April 4-9, 2017
June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum