A ballet based on the Romeo and Juliet story, An Appalachian Romance has performances May 17-18.

A ballet based on the Romeo and Juliet story, An Appalachian Romance has performances May 17-18.

A Unique Collaboration Between Two Local Professional Art Organizations

The Asheville Ballet presents its final performance of the 2012-2013 Season, May 17-18 at Diana Wortham Theatre at 7:30 p.m. We cap an exceptional year with an original production of An Appalachian Romance, with choreography by director Ann Dunn, in collaboration with Kate Steinbeck’s Pan Hamonia, Asheville’s premier chamber music ensemble, and under the baton of conductor, Caleb Young.

Aaron Copland’s American Classic, Appalachian Spring, performed live by the superb professional musicians of Pan Harmonia and the outstanding professional dancers of The Asheville Ballet, nuanced and coaxed to vivid life by Mr. Young, is sure to be a winner. All new sets and costumes and dynamic lighting, provide the rich setting for this rare gem. Tickets range from $15-50 and are available at the box office at (828) 257-4530.

Dunn has created a ballet based on the Romeo and Juliet story, but set in the mountains outside of Asheville. She uses the timeless classical ballet vocabulary, including pointe shoes and the traditional pas de deux, but the costumes are mountain clothes from the early part of the last century, the set reflects the simplicity of life in our magnificent mountains, and the young lovers are the children of two feuding mountain families.

One of the most exciting features of this piece is the collaboration between two outstanding local performance organizations, Pan Harmonia and The Asheville Ballet.

Appalachian Spring will be performed in its original 1944 setting. This rarely produced version, scored for 13 players: flute, clarinet, bassoon, bass, piano and double string quartet, is one of Copland’s most exquisite works.

Many listeners will be familiar with the beautiful last movement of variations on the Shaker melody Simple Gifts (1848). Flutist Kate Steinbeck and violinist Jamie Laval have gathered an extraordinary group of chamber musicians, which Caleb Young will conduct. The principal roles will be danced by Asheville favorites, Lyle Laney and Alyssa Belcher.

The program also features a reprise of the always-thrilling spiritual extravaganza, Lauda Jerusalem, set to Vivaldi by world-renowned choreographer, Rick McCullough, and scenes from the greatest classical ballet, Swan Lake, envisioned and staged by Associate Artistic Director, Lyle Laney.

Now in its 13th season, Pan Harmonia embraces diverse chamber music from Baroque times to the 21st century, and has been nationally acclaimed for its excellence, superb programming and imaginative outreach. Kate Steinbeck founded Keowee Chamber Music–now Pan Harmonia– in 2001 with the goal of bringing professional chamber music to audiences of all ages. Her visionary work and artistic excellence has been nurtured and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Part of this May project has been underwritten by an Arts and Audience grant from the NC Arts Council.

Now in it 50th season, The Asheville Ballet is one of Western North Carolina’s oldest non-profit arts organizations, and is North Carolina’s oldest non-profit ballet company. Incorporated in 1963, the company has created and presented work in Asheville every year since, and has travelled to Yale, New York, Atlanta, Italy, and France.

In an average season, Asheville Ballet’s formal and educational outreach programming affects a culturally diverse audience of approximately 23,000 people. Internationally acclaimed Artistic Director, Ann Dunn, has been at the helm since 1980, and has received over $100,000 in grants from local, state, federal, and private funding sources.

Currently an Assistant Conductor for the Indiana University Philharmonic, Caleb Young has worked intensely with Maestro David Effron on works such as Mahler’s 6th Symphony. In the spring, Caleb is scheduled to cover the IU Symphony Orchestra, and assist Civic Orchestra’s own Principal Conductor, Cliff Colnot on a program featuring Shostakovich’s 9th Symphony. Caleb has served as Assistant Conductor to Arthur Fagan and the Atlanta Opera in their production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

During his time at the Jacobs School of Music, Caleb has organized many “Sunday Series” ad hoc orchestra concerts. These concerts have featured a vast range of repertoire from Rossini to Khachaturian. He has also conducted the IU Symphony Orchestra in the world premier of Carlo Vincetti Frizzo’s Marfa Lights. Caleb is Co-Founder and Music Director of the Capstone Chamber Orchestra and founder of the Atlanta Chamber Orchestra.

>> For more information on this unique local collaboration, please contact Ann Dunn at ann.dunn@mindspring.com or (828) 215-3728. Visit our web sites at www.ashevilleballet.com and www.pan-harmonia.org .