The Sarasota Ballet Company
Sarasota is one of the nation’s best small cities, a destination for a spectrum of families, couples and singles, young and not so young, middle class and the very well-to-do. There are miles of beaches, a botanical garden that specializes in epiphytes (orchids and bromeliads), aquatic sports at countless venues, repertory theaters and restaurants for all tastes. It is a shopper’s paradise and the place where John Hamilton Gillespie introduced golf to North America. (There are more than 70 golf courses within 19 miles of Sarasota).
The existence of the Sarasota Ballet of Florida contributes a uniqueness not found in cities of this size. It is one of the top 10 internationally recognized ballet companies which list includes the New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet of London and The Bolshoi of Moscow. What makes a ballet company internationally recognized is the dancer’s ability to convey the given theme using only their facial expressions, body control and ability to seemingly float through the air effortlessly. The dancers are graceful athletes.
The Sarasota Ballet Company was founded in 1987 by Jean Allenby-Weidner, a former Principal Ballerina and choreographer. In July 2007, after twenty years of chaos, Iain Webb was appointed Director who, with his wife Margaret Barbier, has developed the company of nearly forty dancers into what is now internationally recognized...
Ballet originated in the 15th century as a form of entertainment for Italian royalty and has spread around the world. Although there are many styles thereof such as classical, neo-classical and contemporary, the success of each performance is judged on the dancer’s leg and foot position, head, arms and hand movements in addition to the music, costumes and portrayal of the basic theme. For an individual to become a dancer of note, he or she begins training as early as age eight and seldom later than ten years of age. Three or more lessons per week are a requirement, five or six is better. There is an old ballet saying, “If you miss one day of practice, you feel it. Miss two days and your partner feels it. Miss three days and the audience sees it” whereas the on-stage life of a dancer begins at seventeen, some musicians have become famous at 60, a ballet dancer’s “life” ends at forty. Why do they do it? They do it because it is their only path to happiness.
What is it that determines the success of a performance? Do the scenery, the music and dancers complement each other? Dancer’s posture, facial expressions, foot positions all are judged against stringent standards. The lifts must seem effortless and exhaustion or pain must never be exhibited. If the presentation is that of an old standard such as “Swan Lake” or “The Nutcracker”; how does it compare? Even the premier dancers seldom achieve a score of 100.
Iain Webb has been a principal dancer with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and choreographer for Japan’s Premier Ballet Company. Under his leadership the Sarasota Ballet Company has performed over 100 ballets and divertissements including many premiers.
For more information visit their web site: www.sarasotaballet.org.; for tickets call 941-351-8000.
5555 Tamiami Trail