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Kingsport Ballet bringing back 'Seeds of Change'

Contributed • Apr 2, 2018 at 4:30 PM

 

A year ago, Kingsport Ballet gifted the community with a unique and important art history project - a contemporary ballet based on the city's founding. The event, celebrating Kingsport's centennial, was so highly regarded that the company is restaging it with the addition of new scenes, live music and more.

Kingsport Ballet, under the direction of Valeria Sinyavskaya, will present “Seeds of Change” and “Dream” from “Don Quixote,” April 12-15, at Eastman's Toy F. Reid Employee Center. A special school performance will be held at 10 a.m., April 12. Public performances are scheduled for 7 p.m., April 13-14 and 2:30 p.m., April 15.

“With the addition of new scenes, some live musicians and exciting new cast members, this year's re-staging of Seeds promises to be great entertainment - with local roots!” said Bertina Dew, executive director for Kingsport Ballet.

“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 home to the industrial city.

In collaboration with various artists, Kingsport Ballet 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 and 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.

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.

Kingsport Ballet artists Valeria Sinyavskaya, Bertina Dew, and chief choreographer Erika Ballard have collaborated with guest artists, such as Lyvan Verdecia of Ballet Hispanico, 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 New Jersey Ballet. He graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. He is a frequent teacher and performer with Kingsport Ballet.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, and $10 for college students and children 5 and under. Tickets may be purchased through the Kingsport Ballet Facebook page or website, or by calling (423) 378-3967. The school performance is free for students with advance reservations. One chaperone per school or homeschool group is also admitted free. Additional adult tickets are $10 each. Students and teachers will receive educational workbooks at no charge.

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