Boston Public School students and the general public will get to see the results of the Strand Theatre’s recent multi-million dollar renovation tomorrow as the Boston Ballet (BB) returns for its 5th annual visit to Uphams Corner with an 11 a.m. performance for BPS students and another at 7 p.m.for the general public.
In partnership with the city of Boston and the BPS, the program features dances by Boston Ballet, BB II, BB School students, and students from BB’s Education & Community Initiatives (ECI), including Dot’s own Boys in Motion from the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School.
“In line with our 50th season celebration, this year’s Strand Theatre program is very special,” said BB Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “I’m so excited that we will present the full breadth of what we do to the community in this beautifully renovated Dorchester theatre.”
Noted Mayor Marty Walsh, who is expected to attend the morning show, “From community shows to our world-renowned institutions, Boston is focused on bringing arts and culture alive throughout the city. It is crucial for our young people to see what the arts can offer them, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
These sentiments were echoed by Adams Village resident Antonio Nunziante, a recent Walsh appointee as Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events: “The Strand Theatre has a special commitment to youth and the Uphams Corner Community, and to act as a catalyst in strengthening the economic fabric of the neighborhood,” said Nunziante. “Central to the Strand’s mission is access to Boston’s leading artistic organizations such as the Boston Ballet, at little or no cost.”
Friday’s program ranges widely, from spellbinding classics to cutting edge contemporary works. The company will present excerpts from Marius Petipa’s Swan Lake, and Principal Dancer Jeffrey Cirio’s captivating new work, OF Trial. Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo’s C. to C. (Close to Chuck) Reborn and an excerpt from Florence Clerc’s La Bayadére will feature dancers from Boston Ballet II.
For the first time, students from several of Boston Ballet’s ECI programs will perform onstage, including Adaptive Dance, Taking Steps, and the Strand veterans of the group, Boys in Motion (BIM). Founded in 2010, BIM is a creative movement program designed exclusively for middle school boys, challenging perceptions of young men performing ballet. Four of the nine boys are Dorchester residents.
BB Lead Instructor Yo-el Cassell, who received a 2008 Tony Award for dancing the title role in the Broadway production of Pinocchio, created the piece Honoring, Inspiring, Exhilaration in collaboration with his students. Each of the three movements of piece was choreographed by Cassell to classical music, which (in a Strand/Boston Ballet first) will be performed live by a tenor and a cellist.
Because of changes in administration at the Frederick and snow days, Cassell and his team had only one month in which to co-create their piece. “It has always been my dream to honor the past through the lens of the future,” Cassell told the Reporter “and we have achieved this goal with this work inspired by a quotation from Khalil Gibran.”
The morning performance, emceed by City Councillor Tito Jackson, will have an estimated 1,400 students in attendance. The 7 p.m. performance will be preceded by a surprise-filled pre-show “community event” beginning at 5:30. This show will include visual art by Boston Ballet’s community.
For the first time, there will be an admission fee ($5) for the community performance, although BB is bringing in community partners like Hyde Square Task Force, Chica Project, Big Brother, Big Sister, and Urbano.