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Nevada Ballet Theatre Ends Season With World Premiere Performance

Nevada Ballet Theatre performers rehearse for this weekend’s season finale.
Virginia Trudeau

Nevada Ballet Theatre performers rehearse for this weekend’s season finale.

The dancers from Nevada Ballet Theatre take their final bows of the company’s 46th season this weekend.

A pair of Broadway-themed performances mark the end of the performing year for the Las Vegas-based ballet. It’s also the end of the first season that new artistic director Roy Kaiser has headed the troupe.

“I like to think of it as a wonderful sampler of what the art form of ballet and dance has to offer,” Kaiser said of this weekend's performance.

Kaiser joined the company last fall after a long career with the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet. He was first principal dancer and then spent 19 years as the company’s artistic director.

The shows at the Smith Center on Saturday and Sunday will include a world premiere ballet from choreographer and longtime Kaiser collaborator Matthew Neenan.

Kaiser said it is part of his mission to bring new works to the stage. The NBT is a classically trained company and will always feature traditional ballets but he also wants to use choreographers who are working today.

Las Vegas-based composer Michael Torke wrote the music used in the new ballet.

“I was looking for something more contemporary but still something beautiful and melodic but has an edge to it,” Neenan said.

A friend suggested Neenan listen to Torke's "December." As Neenan was falling in love with the music, Kaiser suggested they talk to Torke about using his music. 

Neenan didn't even know that Torke lived in Las Vegas. All of the pieces of the puzzle came together for Neenan.

He said most of his works are more conceptual but he broke from that mold this time.

“With this piece, it is really about music and dance," he said, "The choreography is really a reflection of the music.”

Torke said he composed "December" in 1995 and this is the first time it has been used for dance. He said it was based on the transition that happens in December when rain turns to snow.

“It has a lot of internal rhythm and energy," he said, "At the same time, it has a sense of repose in the middle.”

Torke said he has worked with some of the best ballet companies in the world and the city is blessed to have the talent of Kaiser and Neenan.

“Las Vegas may not know how lucky they have it to have someone like Roy Kaiser at the helm," he said, “I was delighted when I first saw Matthew’s work how truly brilliant it is. We’re lucky to have him here.”

Nevada Ballet Theatre starts its new season in the fall, with the schedule being announced over the weekend.

Roy Kaiser, artistic director, Nevada Ballet Theatre; Matthew Neenan, choreographer; Michael Torke, composer

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