Ballet Tucson's spring concert to close season 'with a bang'

Ballet Tucson will close the dance company’s season “with a bang,” performing classical and neo-classical pieces in their spring concert this weekend.

“We’ve had a very diverse season and it’s good to go out — it’s springtime — with vibrancy,” Ballet Tucson artistic director Margaret Mullin said. “It was important to me to have some particularly lively pieces in the program because I feel like, you want to go out with a bang at the end of the season.”

The concert will include four pieces — “Sum Stravinsky,” “Paquita,” “The Piano Dance” and the winning piece from the “Footprints at the Fox” showcase, “Asphodel.”

“All the pieces of the program have a lot of energy and are very dynamic and some of them are very virtuosic as well,” Mullin said. “I think it’s going to be a very impressive show for the audience.”

“Paquita” is a classic ballet with recognizable tutus and Spanish influence. “Sum Stravinsky” is a “tutu ballet but with a twist” as it leans toward a neo-classical feel. And with the playfulness and character of “The Piano Dance” and the modern, relaxed athleticism of “Asphodel,” there is a blend of tradition and exploration of movement in ballet.

“We wanted to pick pieces for the program that show we are Tucson’s professional ballet company,” Mullin said. “We have the historic integrity of the art form but then also, how do we show how people are playing with that and rethinking how the art form can be imagined?”

Mullin said there are works choreographed by people who still use traditional pointe shoes but play with movement and modernize the dance landscape, and she plans for Ballet Tucson to keep showcasing that work.

“Things get more experimental and I like showing a pointe shoe with some different imagining of how that can exist on stage,” Mullin said. “The word  ‘ballet’ can mean many things now and we’re here to show that.”

Mullin told the Tucson Sentinel this will be the last time the community can see the local company on the big stage until their next season begins in September. In the meantime, there will be some free pop-up ballet performances and classes.

Some of them will include collaborations with the Tucson Museum of Art, La Quintana, the Children’s Museum Tucson, and the Tucson Pops Orchestra, and will be announced in Ballet Tucson’s email newsletter.

The spring performance will take place at the Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave., from Friday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online or through the Tucson Convention Center’s box office.

“I hope people get just how much range there is in ballet and how much there is to discover in it,” Mullin said. “It’s such a variety of work and there is something for everyone. I don’t think people give ballet dancers a lot of credit for how strong and athletic they are and this concert really showcases that… these professional dancers are professional athletes.”