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ABT News

February 7, 2006

MARCH 29-APRIL 2, 2006

2005-06 Marks Julio Bocca and Julie Kent's 20th Anniversary Season with ABT;
Last Chance for Chicagoans to see Bocca with ABT prior to June Retirement

Returning to Chicago for what has become an annual “rite of Spring,” American Ballet Theatre (ABT), America’s National Ballet Company¬Æ, will present two separate programs at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive: A Gala Opening Night of mixed repertory, Wednesday, March 29, 2006, followed by five performances of the full-length swashbuckling adventure, Le Corsaire (The Pirate), March 30 – April 2, 2006. This engagement marks the Chicago Premiere of Anna-Marie Holmes’ staging of Le Corsaire for American Ballet Theatre. Chicago Title Insurance Company is the leading sponsor of American Ballet Theatre’s 2006 engagement, with additional support from Bill McIntosh.

The full-length story ballet Le Corsaire is an exotic Turkish fable of a dashing pirate’s love for a beautiful harem girl, with a story line traveling from the Pasha’s dazzling palace to a spectacular shipwreck on a windswept desert island. Le Corsaire is considered the perfect platform for daring and explosive dancing. The six principal roles of Medora (the harem girl), Conrad (the pirate), Ali (the slave), Gulnare (Medora’s friend), Lankendem (owner of the bazaar), and Birbanto (Conrad’s friend) will be cast in Chicago as follows: Julie Kent, Julio Bocca, Angel Corella, Xiomara Reyes, Herman Cornejo, and Carlos Lopez (Thursday, March 30, evening); Michele Wiles, David Hallberg, Jose Manuel Carreño, Stella Abrera, Gennadi Saveliev, and Jesus Pastor (Friday, March 31, evening); Irina Dvorovenko, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Angel Corella, Maria Riccetto, Sascha Radetsky, and Herman Cornejo (Saturday, April 1, matinee); Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel, Jose Manuel Carreño, Stella Abrera, Gennadi Saveliev, and Jesus Pastor (Saturday, April 1, evening); and Paloma Herrera, Marcelo Gomes, Angel Corella, Xiomara Reyes, Herman Cornejo, and Carlos Lopez (Sunday, April 2, matinee). All casting is subject to change.

American Ballet Theatre will open its Spring 2006 program in Chicago with a Gala Program on March 29 showcasing 14 of ABT’s Principal Dancers in pas de deux galore, including Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun (Kent, Stiefel), George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Dvorovenko, Beloserkovsky), Manon Pas de Deux (Alessandra Ferri, Bocca), and the “Black Swan Pas de Deux” from Kevin McKenzie’s Swan Lake (Herrera, Carreño). Also on the program will be Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo (Reyes, Radetsky) and a suite from Le Corsaire (Wiles, Murphy, Gomes, Corella, Cornejo).

American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Julio Bocca and Julie Kent are both celebrating 20-year anniversaries with the company in the 2005-2006 season. It was recently announced that after a 20-year career as Principal Dancer with ABT, Bocca will retire from the Company. He will dance his final performance in the role of Des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon on Thursday evening, June 22, 2006 at the Metropolitan Opera House.

“We are delighted to have Chicago as a regular stop on ABT’s tour,” said American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. “With the prior success of Swan Lake and Giselle, the Company is proud return to the Civic Opera House with the acclaimed production of Le Corsaire, as well as a program of repertory which showcases the scope of ABT’s artistry.”

This production of Le Corsaire, with sets and costumes by Irina Tibilova and lighting by Mary Jo Dondlinger, was first staged for American Ballet Theatre in 1998 by Anna-Marie Holmes, after choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev, after Marius Petipa. The ballet was filmed for broadcast by PBS’ Dance in America in 1999. American Ballet Theatre’s 85+ member company will be accompanied by a live 65-member orchestra performing a score by Adolphe Adam,, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo, and Prince Oldenberg.

The Chicago Opening Night Gala, to benefit American Ballet Theatre, takes place Wednesday, March 29, and features a pre-performance Gala reception at 5:30 p.m., prime seating for the 7:00 p.m. performance, and a post-performance champagne toast on stage with the dancers. Co-Chairs for the Opening Night Gala are Sonia Florian of the NIB Foundation and Bill McIntosh. Opening Night Gala tickets are priced from $400. For more information on the Gala Opening Night program or to purchase Gala tickets, please call 212.477.3030 ext. 1105. Performance-only tickets for the Opening Night are available from $20-$98, by calling TicketMaster at (312) 902-1500. The Opening Night Gala is sponsored by Chicago Title Insurance Company, Sonia Florian of the NIB Foundation, and Bill McIntosh.

Performances of Le Corsaire at the Civic Opera House are as follows: Thursday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 1, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s Le Corsaire, and the Opening Night program, which range in price from $20 – $98, can be purchased by calling (312) 902-1500; visiting the Civic Opera House box office; or on line at Groups of 15 or more can receive discount pricing by calling (312) 922-2110, ext. 357.

Countrywide Financial is the National Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre and Cole Haan is a Leading Benefactor. For more information on American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of Le Corsaire at the Civic Opera House March 29-April 2, 2006, please call (312) 902-1500 or visit

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