About 12 years ago Daniel Ulbricht’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer travel to see his performances with the New York City Ballet. This sparked the idea of the Stars of American Ballet. Ulbricht said that if she couldn’t come to New York, he would bring the show to her.
“In 12 years, it’s so exhilarating. It’s amazing,” Ulbricht said. “I’ve traveled the world as a result, at home, abroad. But, it’s a ton of work, so I’m not going to water it down.
Although his mother died five years ago, Ulbricht said he still felt the Stars of American Ballet was a legacy he shared with her.
On Saturday, March 5, the Stars of American Ballet will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The masks will be mandatory for all viewers.
To continue leaving ballet footprints around the world, Ulbricht contacted the Lied Center in hopes of bringing the show to Nebraska.
“Our goal is whether we’re in New York or Lincoln or Italy, whether we’re performing to the same standard of Lincoln Center,” Ulbricht said. “What you would see in New York, you see in Lincoln, Nebraska.”
Matthew Boring, deputy director of the Lied Center, said he thought the ballet company was bringing a new show to audiences.
“I think if you’re someone who’s enjoyed a lot of dance performances or it’s your first dance performance, there’s something about seeing the best artists in the world on stage, even if you’re not not familiar with the technical details of what makes this performance amazing,” Boring said.
As show director, Ulbricht chooses the pieces and dancers that best suit each individual show. This specific show will only include dancers from the New York City Ballet. Ulbricht said there will be three pieces, including a solo, a trio with a ballroom dancer, and a neoclassical piece.
“I really try to go with what will relax the audience, what will make them tap their feet, clap their hands,” Ulbricht said.
As well as making sure the dancers on stage get different opportunities around the world, Ulbricht said it’s important for the audience to feel connected to the performance.
“We don’t have a performance without an audience, just like you don’t have a performance without dancers,” Ulbricht said.
According to Ulbricht, the Stars of American Ballet’s goal is to bring these dance masterpieces out of their home theaters and into communities that may not have these types of performances due to the weather. or resources.
“The bigger picture is that while we expect the dance world to continue to survive – or the culture to survive – we simply cannot expect it to be in every major metropolitan area, especially in New York City. Otherwise, it’s going to die out and go all the way to the coasts,” Ulbricht said. “I think by going to these underserved markets, we’re engaging their own community and culture, engaging their own next generation of dancers.”
For this performance, dance students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have the educational opportunity of a masterclass at the Johnny Carson Theater on the Saturday morning before the show.
Ulbricht said the masterclass will be followed by a question and answer session for attendees.
“It’s part of our mission,” Ulbricht said. “We want to be able to talk about what it’s like to have a class or a repertoire, maybe they’re exposed or not, and then it allows them to say, ‘Hey, I just took a class with them, now, we can see them playing.
“One of our goals was just to really maximize opportunities for students to have Lied Center performances as part of their experience while they go to school in Nebraska,” Boring said.
Whether audience members enjoy the costumes or the different dances, the accompanying music or a more contemporary style, Ulbricht said his selection for each performance offers something for every audience member.
“I think there’s always a feeling that we have as artists, that something felt like a good show, but I also think it’s always validated at the end of the show. [by] the audience’s reaction or experience,” Ulbricht said. “As much as I do art for art, we do it for an audience.”