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Portland Ballet stages 'Stars and Stripes'

Four Beaverton dancers will perform featured roles this weekend


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: BLAINE TRUITT COVERT  - In The Portland Ballet spring concert adaptation of Don Quixote, the role of Kitri will be performed by Caroline Yamada on Friday and Brigit Cheshire on Saturday. The Portland Ballet, Portland's premiere youth ballet academy and company, performs “Stars and Stripes,” its annual spring concert Memorial Day weekend at Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus.  

The program includes many dancers from Beaverton, including Brigit Cheshire, Michael Jurica, Merrit Rosen and Caroline Yamada in lead and featured roles.  

The four ballerinas auditioned to become company dancers and are graduating from The Portland Ballet.

The spring concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in the PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave.

The show features George Balanchine’s exuberant “Stars and Stripes,” the fourth Balanchine ballet to be acquired by The Portland Ballet from the Balanchine Trust. The program also revives Marius Petipa’s comic “Don Quixote” and Josie Moseley’s deeply moving “When I Close My Eyes.”

“Stars and Stripes” (1958) is one of several choreographic tributes to Balanchine’s adoptive country. It requires military-like, technically challenging precision from the corps and includes baton twirling and a flashy duet from El Capitan, danced by Nick Jurica on Friday and Zach Lyski on Saturday; and Liberty Bell, performed by Brigit Cheshire on Friday and Marina Yabuki-DiCorcia on Saturday. Costumes for the production were loaned by Milwaukee Ballet, one of the Midwest’s leading professional companies.

“Don Quixote” (adapted by TPB Academy Principal Jason Davis), with music by Leon Minkus, is a classic, 19th century ballet and one of the few comedies in the show’s repertoire. The TPB Youth Company will dance a lively excerpt from Act I, featuring Basilio performed by Lucas Pitts on Friday and Nick Jurica on Saturday, and his amour, Kitri danced by Caroline Yamada on Friday and Brigit Cheshire on Saturday.

The run time is 90 minutes for the show, which is under the artistic direction of The Portland Ballet’s Nancy Davis.

The company’s annual Academy Showcase will also dazzle audiences on Saturday at 4 p.m. The show celebrates dancers completing a full year of ballet training and highlights their accomplishments at every stage of their training, from pre-ballet through pre-professional Level Six. Academy faculty choreograph the pieces and live piano and theatrical antics are provided by principal pianist Robert Huffman.

Those attending both the Academy Showcase and Saturday night’s performance of “Stars and Stripes” can add Food Front box lunches to their online ticket order.

With the performances taking place during Memorial Day weekend and in the patriotic spirit of “Stars and Stripes,” the academy is offering discounted tickets to active military and veterans. Tickets are $10 for youth; $15 for senior and veteran/military; $20 for adult; and $50 for family pack of four tickets (two youth and two adult). They are available online at theportlandballet.org or by calling 503-452-8448.




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