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Segerstrom center gets en pointe

Taste ballet with new takes on classic tales, the Bournonville method and a Latin flair to the European traditions.

April 15, 2011|By Candice Baker
(Courtesy Segerstrom…)

It's no secret: Dance enthusiasts love the spring.

The season marks the time when the world's best companies and dancers venture beyond their native shores to perform.

Orange County is one of the major recipients of this bounty, due to events like the Segerstrom Center for the Arts' Tour de Force and other engagements.

For those seeking more homegrown talent at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, dozens of local dancers take the stage April 23 for its original production of "Alice in Wonderland"; the following week, Backhausdance brings its newest production home from a triumphant New York City run.

Slated to arrive in the coming weeks at the Segerstrom Center are St. Petersburg's Eifman Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and the National Ballet of Cuba.

"[Boris] Eifman is really a very different kind of choreographer," said center Executive Vice President Judy Morr. "He's had his company for almost 35 years, and they're dedicated to his work. That's very unusual, that a single company can work with a single choreographer. He has an incredible way of taking an old story and thinking about it in a fresh way. He's got all these new ideas, and he recreates the story and makes it relevant to today. He has his own dance vocabulary; his dancers have a special look. They are trained to tell his story. It's very different from seeing the Royal Danish Ballet. Once you've seen the Eifman company, you'll recognize an Eifman dancer in the future…

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"During the Eifman engagement we have our special Tour de Force. It's the second time we have done a gala, and it has some of the most stellar dancers in the world."

From Diana Vishneva to Anastasia Matvienko to Tiler Peck, Tour De Force II boasts about a dozen international dance superstars, as well as members of the Eifman Ballet. The one-evening event's program boasts American, West Coast and Segerstrom Center premieres, as well as other beloved classic and contemporary works from choreographers like George Balanchine and Alexander Gorsky.

"After we have Eifman, the next major engagement we have is the Royal Danish Ballet, which is really the crown jewel of Denmark," Morr said. "It's been almost 15 years since they've been to Southern California. To present them is an honor, and it will be a real treat for our audience. It is the only and the best place to see Bournonville dance, which is unique to this company."

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