TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre at The University of Alabama will present the Marius Petipa version of the ballet “Paquita,” Nov. 3-5, in the newly renovated Morgan Hall Auditorium on the UA campus.
Performances, which feature the dancers from the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and artistic director Cornelius Carter, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4. A 2 p.m. performance will be featured on Sunday, Nov. 5. Tickets, which are available through the department of theatre and dance box office, are $12 for general admission, $10 for UA faculty and staff, and $8 for students with valid Ids. Call 205/348-3400 for purchase information.
The ballet premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1847 and is considered one of the most beautiful pieces ever performed. Paquita (a ballet in two acts and three scenes) tells the story of a young girl (Paquita), who is rescued from a massacre as a child by gypsies. Years later, while travelling and dancing with the gypsy band, she returns to her home in the Spanish valley town of Sargossa and is subsequently reunited with her family. The Spanish flavor of the production is heavily accentuated through the colorful set and elaborate costume designs.
According to Edie Barnes, one of the many highlights of the production is the beautiful costumes that accompany the elaborate choreographic variations. “The color and style of the costumes, which were exquisitely made especially for this production by Lois Sale of Birmingham, will treat the audience to a wonderful presentation of a timeless ballet classic,” said Barnes. “We are certainly excited to open this season with such a demanding and historic work. Instructor Michael Ho, who has joined us this year from London, is setting the male variations. Michael has an extensive performance and choreographic background, and we are truly happy he is joining us at UA.”
“Paquita” creator Marius Petipa is considered one of the greatest choreographers of all time. As instructor of the Imperial School, Petipa raised the standards of dance technique and choreography in Russia to new heights.
His production of “The Sleeping Beauty” had achieved resounding success, but it was followed with such great works as “Don Quixote,” “La Bayadere,” and “Zoraya.” Then came “Cinderella,” the full-length “Swan Lake,” “Raymonda,” and “Harliquinade,” among others. “The Sleeping Beauty” remained the high point of the collaboration between Tchaikovsky and Petipa, and it is the epitome of Russian classical ballet.
The three-day event at UA also marks the official reopening of the 700-seat Morgan Hall Auditorium after more than a year of interior renovations, including re-plastering and the addition of new decorative molding, new seating and electrical wiring, restoring the facility to its once-grandeur state. Morgan Hall was built on the UA campus in 1910 and named after Alabama Sen. John Tyler Morgan, who led the battle to obtain federal funds in reparation for the University’s destruction in 1865 by Union forces.
“Having such a beautiful event in this wonderful facility truly does make this three-day performance one of our all-time highlights within the theatre and dance department and in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Barnes. “I am excited and hopeful that the Tuscaloosa and University communities will join us on one of the three days to celebrate the color, beauty and technical grace of “Paquita.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.