Ballet San Antonio Opens Season with Local Premiere of 'Don Quixote'

click to enlarge Ballet San Antonio Opens Season with Local Premiere of 'Don Quixote'
Ballet San Antonio principal dancer Sally Turkel photographed by Alexander Devora

Ballet San Antonio opens its 2016-17 season at the Tobin with the San Antonio premiere of Don Quixote, a three-act production based on Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel from the Spanish Golden Age.

The production is choreographed by BSA artistic director Willy Shives, after versions of the ballet by Marius Petipa (1869) and Alexander Gorsky (1900), with music by Ludwig Minkus. This marks the company’s third season as resident ballet company at the Tobin, and the beginning of the first full season conceived and executed by Shives, who arrived in November 2015 after 17 years with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet.

Fondly known as Don Q, the ballet weaves a tale of romance, delusion and daring adventure in pursuit of dreams real and imagined. The ballet is beloved for its comedic flourishes, larger-than-life characters and thrilling bravura dancing. There are four casts for this production and a number of children from the community are included. Opening night will feature Sally Turkel as Kitri and Daniel Westfield as Basilio.

Shives and his wife Evie have danced this ballet many times, perhaps most memorably with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. “Terry Orr was the new artistic director (circa 1997) and he had brought sets, costumes and much of the staging from American Ballet Theatre,” Shives recalls. “What impressed me most about that version was that the ballet revolved around Basilio and Kitri, the love they shared. The ideal love that the Don is seeking.”

The orchestrations of Maestro Akira Endo also made a tremendous impact on Shives. “We have arranged the music [in a way] that is similar to how it was when I was working with Akira in Pittsburgh. I, too, am focused on the relationship and love between Kitri and Basilio. We see that they truly belong together, and that is a beautiful thing.” Shives is nothing if not a true romantic.

In another first for Ballet San Antonio, the company will begin to fulfill their mission to bring the splendor of ballet to South Texas by traveling to  perform at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley October 22-23. The schedule will also include master classes. Shives says, “This is exciting for us because we grew up in Edinburg — it’s where we found each other.” 

$20-$134, 7:30pm Fri, Oct. 14, 2pm & 7:30pm Sat, Oct. 15, 2pm Sun, Oct. 16, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624,
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