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The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) presents Le Corsaire Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 7:30 PM.  The performance takes place in Millard Auditorium on the University of Hartford Campus, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford.  Please call the University Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587, or visit hcd.hartford.edu, to purchase tickets.  Admission is $10.  University of Hartford discount rates are not available for this production.  Group rates may be available to organizations.  Contact Amanda Kilpatrick, Hartt Community Division Dance Department, at 860.768.6000 for more information.

The ballet, Le Corsaire, is loosely based on the poem of the same name written by Lord Byron in 1814.  Le Corsaire, or “the pirate”, is the story of one such pirate named Conrad, and is filled with adventure, chivalry, deception, survival, romance and love. Itis a special part of the ballet repertoire because several of the leading roles were developed for male dancers and its unique story is as much of an escapade as it is a fairy tale romance. Most classical ballets are primarily focused on female performance, with lead female roles, a corps consisting mostly of women, and plots and choreography that feature female dancers.  Le Corsaire’s story line follows the path of Conrad, the pirate, and Birbanto, his first mate. Lankendem, a slave dealer, and the Seid Pasha, a Turkish nobleman, comprise the other two male leads. Heroines Medora and Gulnare, maidens from Greece, are the only two female leading roles though many celebrated passages from the ballet feature these characters. With such a strong presence of male dancing it is one of the best known works that showcase the athleticism as much as the artistry of ballet.

Le Corsaire is based on choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo, and Prince Oldenbourg.  Since the premier of Le Corsaire, in 1856, Petipa himself revised the choreography many times and since then, the ballet has been performed around the globe by the world’s leading ballerinas and danseurs.  The HCD version will be staged by Laura Alonso, who is visiting from Cuba to serve as the Artistic Director of From Studio to Stage. Ms. Alonso has an extensive knowledge of classical ballet repertoire such as this one, as she was raised in the ballet world.  Her mother is the famous Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Alicia Alonso, and she will bring this deep understanding of Le Corsaire to the students and the stage.

Hartt’s 2013 performance of Le Corsaire will be set, staged and brought to a professional performance level in just 4 weeks over the course of From Studio to Stage.  The production will feature guest artists Eddy Tovar and André Teixiera and more than 40 pre-professional ballet students from around the United States who auditioned to attend the summer intensive, From Studio to Stage. Performers range in age from 10 to 20 years old.

2013 marks the second year of the From Studio to Stage ballet program. The inaugural year was an outstanding success, culminating with a sell-out performance of Coppelia.  

About Artistic Director Laura Alonso 

Laura Alonso was born in New York City; her parents Alicia and Fernando Alonso are outstanding figures of the world of dance. Laura studied with several renowned professors of the ballet world and was principal soloist at the National Ballet of Cuba for 25 years.

After leaving the stage, Laura worked as personal trainer for her mother, Alicia Alonso, for 7 years.

Dancers trained by Laura Alonso have been awarded gold and silver medals and prizes at international contests, such as the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris and the Jackson International Ballet Competition, an occasion in which Laura was awarded the Prize to the Best Trainer. At the Gran Latinoamericano de la Danza 2001 competition, held in Córdoba, Argentina, she was appointed Vice-President of the Latin American Dance Confederation, in representation of Cuba.

Among Laura Alonso’s students were José Manuel Carreño and Xiomara Reyes, top figures at the American Ballet Theatre; Marcela Goicochea, principal dancer in Chile’s National Ballet; Lorna Feijó, Aliahydé Carreño and Víctor Gilí, top figures with the National Ballet of Cuba; Arionel Vargas, top figure with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Edelquis Cruz, top figure with the Teatro Teresa Carreño Ballet of Caracas, among others.

Since 1984, Laura Alonso has worked as the General Director of Cuba’s Center for the Promotion of Dance, internationally known as the PRODANZACenter, where young dancers and ballerinas are trained according to the syllabus of the CubanBalletSchool.

Laura is also the main organizer and promoter of renowned CUBALLET events, which are international courses that take place in different seasons of the year and in several countries.

She is a guest teacher at several ballet academies in Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, The Philipines, Mexico and the United States, and she has given courses as requested by prestigious ballet companies. Laura has also been part of the jury at important international ballet contests. Her pedagogical work has been recognized in the field of dance as she has become an ambassador of Cuban and international culture.

Laura Alonso Ballet, a company Ms. Alonso founded in 1995, presented annually more than one hundred functions in three theaters. He has traveled to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Guadeloupe and Jamaica. The full repertoire of ballets of the company include: The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Corsair, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, La Fille Mal Gardee, La Sylphide, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges Yarini, as well as Pas de Deux concerts with classical and original works by contemporary choreographers.

About the Guest Artists

Eddy Tovar

A native of Cuba, Eddy Tovar began his dance training at the National Ballet School in Havana.  Prior to joining the faculty of the Hartt Community Division, Mr. Tovar was a Principal Dancer with Texas Ballet Theater for three years and Orlando Ballet for nine.  He has also been resident guest artist with the Los Angeles Ballet and made guest appearances with several other ballet companies throughout the United States. Internationally, Mr. Tovar has performed in ballet galas in Japan, Canada, Argentina, and Latvia.  He was the recipient of several gold medals for dance competitions in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba.  In 2008, he appeared on the television program “So You Think You Can Dance,” performing the principal role in George Balanchine’s Who Cares? Some of Mr. Tovar's favorite classical roles have included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty.  He also has enjoyed performing works by George Balanchine, Val Caniporoli, and Twyla Tharp.  Mr. Tovar is married and is the proud father of a beautiful little girl.

André Teixeira

André Teixeira, a native of Brazil, has over ten years professional experience performing with Sesiminas Cia de Dancas, Brazil, North Carolina Dance Theater and most recently, New Jersey Ballet Company.  In addition, he has served as a guest performer for numerous international venues and companies and has been the recipient of gold and silver medals at international competitions.  Mr. Teixeira has had the pleasure of performing classical leading roles including Basilio in Don Quixote, Solor in La Bayadère and Albrecht in Giselle.  He has also performed leading roles in Who Cares? and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

About From Studio to Stage

From Studio to Stage is a summer pre-professional program offering extensive performance experience to guide young dancers into today’s dance world.  The multi-faceted, rigorous 4-week curriculum takes students beyond technique and leads them to improved performance both on and off-stage.

About HCD Dance Chair Samantha Dunster

Before coming to Hartt in 2011, Samantha Dunster served as Assistant to the Artistic Director/Ballet Mistress of Orlando Ballet (Florida) and taught at the Orlando Ballet School.  Ms. Dunster began her professional training with Cristina Pora in Toronto, Canada.  At the age of 17, she traveled to Havana, Cuba, to train with the National Ballet of Cuba.  She continued dancing with the company of Centro Pro-Danza under the direction of Laura Alonso, where she also worked as regisseur.  She earned her teaching diploma based on the Cuban Ballet training method.

Ms. Dunster has danced and taught in countries around the world such as Sweden, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as in the United States.  In 1996, she accepted the position of artistic director and principal dancer of Bale da Ilha in Brazil, where she staged numerous full-length ballets.  By 2000, she became ballet mistress of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones.  Dunster re-choreographed La Fille Mal Gardee in 2001 and her invitation to set La Fille Mal Gardee on the National Ballet of Korea came two years later.  In 2004, she was commissioned by Orlando Ballet to create a world premiere production of Camelot.  In 2007, she accepted the role of assistant to the artistic director of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks.  The following year, the pair staged the full-length Don Quixote together.  Ms. Dunster also has staged several of Bruce Marks's works, including Lark Ascending, for Louisville Ballet.  In 2010, Ms. Dunster served as the Canadian judge for the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.


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