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The environs of New Jersey have mostly been associated with a rural culture that is heavily invested in farming and rearing cattle. Hence, one would not easily relate the denizens of New Jersey to be upscale patrons of the performing arts, especially one as snobbish as ballet. However, New Jersey Ballet has been busy flipping that stereotype on its head for more than half a century. Based out of the city of Livingston that is located on the state’s western border, the ballet company does not restrict itself to catering to only paying audiences but goes out of its way to make inroads into the local community. But this is not to say that it compromises on any level with regards to the caliber of its performances, which are comparable with any other world-class ballet institution and constitute the works of all the great choreographers such as Balanchine, Robbins, deMille, Renvall, Toma, Petipa and Vesak. Laying your claim to some New Jersey ballet tickets is one of the most effective ways of appreciating the company’s repertory so make sure you don’t miss out on a chance to be charmed by dance.
The New Jersey Ballet Company is as close to the local community as it can get. It was founded by two of Livingston’s finest ballet dancers, Carolyn Clark and her partner George Tomal in 1958. The foundations of the company were laid by Corolyn’s mother, who and her friends, propelled by their passion for ballet, established the New Jersey School of Ballet in 1953. Since Carolyn herself was involved in the operations of the ballet school, she was in good stead to start a full-fledged professional ballet company that would not only serve as a stepping stone for the graduates of the school into the industry but would also stage world-renowned productions.
Kicking things off with a debut performance at the local Arts High School, New Jersey Ballet took some time in getting its ballet bearings and building up a repertoire. Its first staple production was that of The Nutcracker that it started staging at the famous Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn from 1971 onwards. This was the first time that the company collaborated with one of the world’s most renowned dancers, Edward Villella, who was cast in Cavalier’s role. In addition to the seasonal performances at the Paper Mill Playhouse, New Jersey Ballet also brought forth annual production runs at other venues such as the Stafford Township Arts Center in the nearby city of Manahawkin and Cape May Court House.
The 1990s saw New Jersey’s premier ballet company garner significant milestones on the international level, what with touring to far-off destinations such as in Taiwan and Russia as well as Italy and Bermuda. Four years into the new millennium, New Jersey Ballet gained nationwide recognition and acclaim for being the first American dance company to stage a full-length production of Marius Petipa’s masterpiece, La Esmeralda, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Two years later, it paid its homage to the former “Jewel of the Crown” of the British Empire by delivering a series of performances of The Nutcracker at the National Centre for the Performing Arts located in the Indian city of Mumbai. 2008 again saw the company head towards Russia, this time on a seven-day tour that entailed performances based exclusively in an American setting, namely Saturday Night, Let's Go South, For Ella and Belong.
The New Jersey Ballet company diligently delivers a 26 week season each year that comprises of a wide variety of works ranging from classical and jazz based ones to pieces choreographed in contemporary genres. The company’s repertory has been enriched by the guidance of a trifecta of artistic advisors, namely Leonid Kozlov, Eleanor D'Antuono and Edward Villella. The organization has also been deemed as New Jersey’s favorite ballet company through an online poll. The New York City Ballet may command the ballet roost of the Big Apple but down here in New Jersey, it’s the namesake ballet entity that the local populace holds close to their hearts and minds. New Jersey Ballet tickets will enable you to be treated to premium quality programming and bewitching ballet performances so book some now.
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