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‘Seeds of Change’ — Kingsport Ballet to restage centennial production

Contributed • Mar 12, 2018 at 10:00 PM

The Kingsport Ballet, under the direction of Valeria Sinyavskaya, is preparing to restage the contemporary ballet “Seeds of Change” along with the “Dream” act in “Don Quixote,” April 12-15 at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center.

“Seeds of Change” is made up of contemporary choreography exploring themes relevant to 1917, the year of Kingsport’s founding. The ballet explores some of the realities of that time in history, through a warm story set in the East Tennessee meadows that become an industrial city.

The “Dream” act from “Don Quixote” is Act II, Scene II of the ballet classic. This act represents Don Quixote’s dream. In the full ballet, Don Quixote is a Spanish gentleman who often dreams of being a knight engaged in passionate battles. After imagining such a battle, where he is wounded in combat, he enters a majestic garden where the object of his love, Dulcinea, dances surrounded by beautiful nymphs and cupids.

In “Seeds of Change,” the Kingsport Ballet in collaboration with various artists created choreography, backdrops and costumes relevant to the city’s centennial. 

“By exploring societal changes present in this time period, we transport the audience to 1917, highlighting the charm as well as the challenges of that time through dance,” explains choreographer Erika Ballard.

As men were sent to fight in World War I, women sought employment opportunities in growing cities such as Kingsport. This influx of non-traditional workers grew urban populations, gave fuel to increased social rights of women, and laid the foundation for an industrial boom that propelled the nation into the leading industrial world leader. 

In Kingsport specifically, this is seen with the arrival of the railroad, the growth of business and industry, and the migration to the city from farmland.

Sinyavskaya, Ballard and Bertina Dew have collaborated with guest artists such as Lyvan Verdecia of Ballet Hispanico and Akop Akopian with Ellison Ballet Academy as well as local teachers, artists and musicians in creating this short, contemporary ballet.

Guest artist Leonid Flegmatov will perform the lead male roles. Flegmatov is a principal dancer with the New Jersey Ballet. He graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and is a frequent teacher and performer with the Kingsport Ballet.

 “Seeds of Change” and “Dream” will be performed at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Auditorium. Ticket price is $20 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 5 and under and college students. Tickets may be purchased through the company’s facebook page or website or by calling the Kingsport Ballet at (423) 378-3967.

A school performance is planned for Thursday, April 12, at 10 a.m. The performance is free of charge for students with one free chaperone per school or homeschooled group. Students and teachers will receive educational workbooks free of charge.

The Kingsport Ballet is funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, as well as by the City of Kingsport, Massengil De-Friece Foundation and TAC/Funds for at Risk Youth for outreach programs. 

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