The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet will host the 2013 Regional Dance America/Southeast Regional Ballet Association annual festival, Celebrating the South's Finer Pointes, Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4 in downtown Jackson. The festival is expected to draw more than 800 participants including dancers, teachers, choreographers and observers from 18 member companies in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia to study their craft, celebrate achievements, and perform works selected through an adjudication process.
Regional Dance America was created in 1956 to promote the artistic development of dance companies throughout the United States. The National organization is comprised of five regions (Mid-States, Northeast, Pacific, Southeast and Southwest.) More than 300 companies, including more than two dozen nationally recognized professional companies, have been members. RDA's mission is to advance and foster the growth and education of dancers, choreographers, directors, and dance companies in every community across the United States and Canada. Development of member companies is promoted through regional and national festivals by affirming standards of appraisal, evaluation, and performance to which all members are held. Today, the membership of RDA is comprised of 90 companies and more than 2,000 dancers from across the nation.
The Southeast Regional Ballet Association, often referred to as "SERBA," welcomed the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet as a member company in September of 2008, under the artistic direction of Jennifer Beasley. Currently, the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is the only Mississippi based company to hold membership and therefore attend the festival. The other RDA companies within the Southeast include: Alabama Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet Centre Theatre, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Roswell Dance Theatre, Southeast Alabama Dance Company, The Georgia Ballet, Appalachian Ballet Company, Atlanta Dance Theatre, High Point Ballet, Inwood Dance Company, Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, Raleigh Dance Theatre, The Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre, Southern Ballet Theatre, and Triangle Youth Ballet.
RDA/SERBA provides advanced educational and performing opportunities for students with a serious commitment to their arts education. At the festival, students will benefit from three days of classes taught by master teachers and three evenings of performances, which offer them the occasion to dance for peers and members of the dance community as well as professional companies and recruiters from universities. Additionally, the festival provides students exposure to positions at pre-professional summer programs and universities, as well as scholarship opportunities to attend professional training programs throughout the nation including American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet and the Julliard School, among others.
Faculty for ballet classes for the festival includes Anna Donovan, Ballet Mistress of Texas Ballet Theatre; John Magnus, Artistic Director of Portland Festival Ballet and former Director of the Joffrey Ballet School; Valerie Madonia, former dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet; and Mary Margaret Holt, Dean of the School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma. Modern and Jazz faculty includes Derrick Minter, DJ Guthrie, Dana Foglia and Kassandra Taylor Newberry. Two of the nation's most popular ballet accompanists Steven Mitchell and Patience Clements will play for ballet class during the festival.
Thom Clower, the founding Artistic Director of Ballet Dallas and master ballet teacher, is serving as the RDA/SERBA 2013 Adjudicator. Mr. Clower travelled to each SERBA member company
over a two week period in February to evaluate them in class and view a performance of two to five short ballets. Mr. Clower then announced the selected adjudicated works that will be performed at the Jackson festival. SERBA member companies have since been working hard to prepare those ballets for the Jackson festival.
The Thursday, May 2nd performance is designed to foster the craft of choreography. "The Emerging Choreographers Performance" showcases the talent of aspiring choreographers. The development of the performance allows young choreographers the ability to experiment with music and movements in an environment that is conducive to constructive criticism by the adjudicator.
On Friday, May 3rd, "The Festival Concert Performance" features member companies performing a full range of their finest dances. Audience members will enjoy high-energy performances featuring magnificent costumes and a repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary.
"The Gala Concert Performance" on Saturday, May 4, features the works that the adjudicator deemed the strongest of the entire region. It is a prestigious honor to be chosen for the Gala Concert. Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet will open the Gala Concert Performance with "Overture di Ballo", a classical piece choreographed by John Magnus.
All three evening performances will all be held at Thalia Mara Hall. The Jackson Marriott Hotel and Jackson Convention Complex are the sites of RDA/SERBA Festival classes, seminars and events.
Tickets are available to the public for the Saturday evening Gala Concert Performance, which begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 601-853-4508. Individuals wishing to observe festival classes, attend the seminars, and experience the three evenings of performances, including the Gala Banquet, may purchase a "Festival Kit" for one, two or three days. For more information about Festival Kits, contact Festival Coordinators Jennifer Beasley or Crystal Skelton at 601853-4508 or visit www.msmetroballet.com/serba.
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