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SANTA BARBARA & SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Ballet22 Deconstructs Tradition and Presents Classical Ballet Through a New Lens

SANTA BARBARA & SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Ballet22 Deconstructs Tradition and Presents Classical Ballet Through a New Lens




Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara + The Great Star Theater, San Francisco


Friday, August 27, 2021 - 7:00pm
Friday, September 3, 2021 - 7:00pm
Saturday, September 4, 2021 - 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Sunday, September 5, 2021 - 3:00pm




CALIFORNIA, August 2, 2021 – Ballet22, a groundbreaking dance company presenting works that break gender normative traditions in the classical repertoire, announce their summer 2021 season of digital and live performances, August 27- September 5. With a clear mission to create equal representation in the professional ballet field for men, mxn, transgender, and non-binary artists to perform professionally and “en pointe,” the season will recreate classical ballet repertoire works like Le Corsaire, Giselle, Carmen, Paquita in the historically accurate choreography to showcase the masterful technique of the artists while challenging heteronormative roles and costuming.

Empowering both LGBTQ+ artists and audiences to feel seen and represented, the season celebrates strength, vulnerability and authenticity with both classical and contemporary works that deconstruct tradition and redefine what it is to be a ballet dancer en pointe through a new and progressive lens. On August 27, the company will present The Best of Ballet22 at Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara. A mixed bill of classical excerpts from Giselle, Le Corsaire, and Carmen, the program will also include the joyous and celebratory Juntos by Joshua Stayton, a technical and poignant solo, I Will Follow You Too, by Jehbreal Jackson, and a reprise of Heartbeats. A powerful example of versatility, moving seamlessly between the classical and contemporary vocabulary, the program serves as a wonderful introduction to the power, magic and meaning of ballet for a new generation.

The summer season will close with a live double bill performance, September 3-5, at the Great Star Theater in San Francisco, where they made their official stage debut last month. Presenting a new take on Ramón Oller's critically acclaimed Carmen, the work is reimagined for a cast of all mxn artists, challenging stereotypes of this Spanish-influenced ballet. Oller will also present The Dream of Fish, a world-premiere commission that will feature mxn en pointe and live music by acclaimed Spanish singer Marina Rossell in a bill that merges classical storybook repertory with contemporary and groundbreaking motifs.

“The dance world is far behind in making representation and diversity a priority,” explains Roberto Vega Oritz, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Ballet22. “We knew we were doing something important when a mother and her son joined us for a performance and left feeling like he finally found a community to support his own dreams of dancing en pointe and exploring ballet through his own narrative,” he adds.

“We will continue to push boundaries and give voices on stage and off to those who have been excluded from the conversation,” explains Executive Director Theresa Knudson. “It’s time and we are doing our part to empower global artists and audiences to live authentically and be seen.”




The Best of Ballet22 will take place August 27, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. GMT at Center Stage Theater, located at 751 Paseo Nuevo Center in Santa Barbara. Tickets start at $23 and are available at https://centerstagetheater.org/show_detail.php?id=821

Carmen will take place September 3 at 7:00 p.m., September 4 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and September 5 at 3:00 p.m., GMT at The Great Star Theater, located at 636 Jackson Street in San Francisco. Tickets start at $35 and are available at https://www.greatstartheater.org/shows/ballet22/carmen.html




Founded in 2020 by Roberto Vega Oritz and Theresa Knudson, Ballet22 exists to push the boundaries of what is possible in ballet through producing and presenting works ranging from classical to contemporary ballet that break gender normative traditions. The company is guided by values of inclusivity of body type, gender identity, and race. The creation of Ballet22 was inspired by a lack of representation and opportunities in the ballet field for men, mxn, transgender, and non-binary artists to perform professionally “en pointe.” While there are opportunities to perform in a drag-comedy context, Ballet22 seeks to present a range of work beyond these confines. Ballet22 is dedicated to commissioning new works that give representation to mxn dancers en pointe, as well as works that amplify queer voices. In addition, the company aims to create positive change to ballet culture by providing a respectful, safe place to work with equitable wages for artists.

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