+ Step by Step
The Sarasota Ballet collaborates with numerous choreographers and dancers throughout the year. Guest artists conduct workshops and lessons or help lead rehearsals so the company of dancers learns and becomes a more knowledgeable dance body. Last week the renowned French ballet dancer Laurent Hilaire visited the company.
Put in a dance class by his parents at the age of 11, Hilaire has been dancing at the Paris Opera Ballet, the oldest national ballet company in the world, for 40 years. Hilaire danced as a student in the corps de ballet; at age 25 was named etoile (principal dancer) of the company by then director Rudolf Nureyev; and has served as ballet master since 2005 and associate artistic director since 2011.
Hilaire left the Paris Opera Ballet last summer partly because of the organization’s new direction and partly because he wanted to find a new way to work. He has worked as a traveling master free agent, serving as a guest artist to help ballets across the world to stage the repertoire of Nureyev, Hilaire’s former director and mentor. Before he arrived in Sarasota, he was assisting the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. And after Hilaire assists the Sarasota Ballet for its performance of “Tribute to Nureyev” Feb. 27 and 28, which features performances of George Balanchine’s “Apollo,” Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Jazz Calendar” and Nureyev’s “Raymonda Act III,” the ballet master will be in Sweden for two months helping the Royal Sweden Ballet’s production of “Don Quixote.”
“Being a guest artist now is very exciting just to experience a different people, culture and a different way to look at the work,” says Hilaire. “It’s a very nice moment for me to be in a studio and not worrying about the considerations around running an organization, which was huge work in the Paris Opera Ballet with 154 dancers.”
Hilaire says he is honored and excited to travel around the world sharing his dancing expertise and knowledge of Nureyev’s work and of the man himself.
“He made a revolution on the way to consider a male dancer,” says Hilaire. “All of the big classical ballet was meant to value the woman, and also his work reflected the dance he saw in Denmark, France, England and Russia. He learned from all over the world and he created his own style. You know when it’s a step from Nureyev as soon as you see it. You cannot really compare it, but his choreography is as rich as the language of Shakespeare or Molière.”
+ Celebrating Diversity
“Embracing Our Differences,” Sarasota’s public exhibit of local and international art and quotes, announced its winning submissions. The collection of artwork, designs and inspirational quotes that honor and encourage the values of diversity will be on display from March 29 to May 31 in Sarasota’s Island Park and Bradenton’s Riverwalk. Among the student participants, local eighth-grader Mackenzie Reiss, who attends Venice Middle School, won “Best-in-Show Student” for her original work, “A Duet is Often Better Than a Solo.” The piece depicts a fiery blue electric guitar lying next to a viola, both looking up at an expansive starry night sky. Reiss’ work will be on display during the two-month-long public art show; her school’s art program will also receive $1,000.
“We may sound completely different, but together we can create beautiful music,” says Reiss in her artist’s statement for the winning work. “To me, this means that just because you look different, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do well together.”
+ Mixed-Media Master
Opening March 6, the surreal and seductive impressions of life by Sarasota master artist Craig Rubadoux will live inside the Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery until April 25. Rubadoux uses canvas, paper and numerous other materials to create whimsical and colorful pieces that reflect with almost a childlike grace the beauty of gentle moments throughout life. This intimate touch is evident in works such as “Boy with Rabbit” and “Lovers in a Small Boat.” Rubadoux’s work is like snapshots of life taken with a mystical and radiant camera.
The Sarasota resident’s work is also on display in the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.